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Full text of "Story of the siege hospital in Peking, and diary of events from May to August, 1900"

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JESSIE RANSOM E, Deaconess. 

Cornell HUunetHttH ffiibrarg 

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3 1924 023 150 992 

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TO AUGUST, iogp. , 








43, 'QUEEN victoria street, e.c. 

BRIGHTON: 129, north street. 

New York : E. & J. B. YOUNG AND CO. 

1 901. 


UK'IVI -\'N 1 1 Y 









? HIS little volume requires many apologies. 
The diary letter, written in Peking 
during the eventful summer months of 
1900, was never intended for publication, as is 
evident from its form. I have, however, made no 
attempt to correct its accuracy or to improve its 
style, as I feel that its only interest lies in its 
simplicity, and in its being a genuine record of the 
events of that strange and perilous time as they 
appeared to me. It was often written under great 
difficulties and in very odd corners, but always 
with the hope that, even if I did not live to send it 
to my friends, this letter might one day reach them. 
I now venture to send it forth, in the hope that it 
may reach and interest that wider circle of friends, 


would arrive to relieve the situation, and that 
the "Boxer" siege would come to nought, and 
when that hope was destroyed by the murder of 
Baron von Ketteler, a hospital ward had to be 
opened at once for the reception of our first 
patient, the Chinese secretary of the German 
Legation, who was wounded at the same time 
as his Minister. On the following day hostilities 
began in earnest and the Legation doctor had to 
face the fact that a hospital, fully equipped with 
all the requisites for dealing with wounds and 
probable sickness, and furnished with the necessary 
staff of nurses, assistants, cooks, coolies, etc., must 
somehow or other be forthcoming at once, and 
that there was no other material available, either 
animate or inanimate, than such as happened to 
be within the narrow lines of our defences. 
Fortunately, Dr. Poole of the British Legation 
had a most able and experienced colleague in 
Dr. Velde of the German Legation. They im- 
mediately faced the, task before them, and in 
spite of what sometimes seemed insuperable 
difficulties, always managed throughout the long 
nine weeks which followed to produce either the 


very thing that was needed or some cleverly 
devised substitute which did as well. We used 
sometimes to say that Dr. Velde either kept a 
private magician or else had a sixth sense which 
enabled him to find out where such necessaries as 
condensed milk, or thermometers, or dressings were 
to be found, when to all appearance not a trace of 
any of these things was left in the Legations. 

Nurses also were fortunately forthcoming, 
although only one, Miss Lambert, of the Church of 
England Mission, was fully trained and certificated. 
She was immediately put in charge as matron, 
and some lady doctors of other Missions gener- 
ously laid aside professional etiquette and worked 
under her as nurses. Other missionaries who 
had been trained enough to be useful were also 
put on the staff, and several ladies volunteered to 
help in bed-making, taking round meals, fanning, 
etc. One of the most important officers in the 
hospital was the sick berth steward of H.M.S. 
Orlando, who had come up to Peking with the 
British Marines, and of whose devoted and 
efficient work it would be impossible to speak 
too highly. An Italian sick berth steward also 


made himself useful, and during the last fortnight 
or so the German and American stewards took 
their turn : previous to that they had been 
occupied with the doctors at the front in giving 
first aid to the wounded. We nurses soon settled 
ourselves into a regular routine in three " reliefs," 
one set taking night duty, a second the hours 
from 8 a.m. till noon, and from 4 p.m. till 7 p.m., 
and a third, those from noon to 4 p.m. and from 
7 to 10 p.m. 

The first thing to be done was to find a 
building which could be set apart for a hospital, 
and this, in the crowded state of the British 
Legation, was not very easy. It was decided 
to use the Government offices and reading-room, 
commonly known as the Chancery, and two 
rooms were hastily cleared and prepared for use, 
one as operating theatre, and the other as a 
ward. Even then we had not an idea of the 
task before us, thinking that a few days would 
certainly bring Admiral Seymour and his column 
to our relief; and so it was only by degrees, as 
our patients increased in number, that we cleared 
out more rooms and even encroached upon the 


next house till we had no fewer than six wards, 
and some beds in the hall, besides an extra ward 
for convalescents in the Minister's house. The 
clearing of those wards was a terrible piece of 
work, and I sometimes reflect with thankfulness 
that I am not there to see the rightful occupants 
return and try to restore order among the books, 
papers, and documents of all kinds which we so 
ruthlessly packed away. Having got the house, 
it had to be provided with beds and bedding 
which, in the already strained state of the re- 
sources of the Legation, did not seem likely to 
be forthcoming. Four small iron bedsteads and 
seven camp beds were all we had for the fifty 
or sixty patients who soon filled up our little 
hospital, and the rest had to be accommodated 
as well as might be with mattresses on the floor 
— often two patients on a double one. The camp 
beds and many of the mattresses were given up 
by people who, in consequence, lay on the floor 
themselves; but one characteristic of the siege 
was the generous way in which people insisted 
that the hospital should have the best of what- 
ever they had to give, even where it meant self- 


denial. The mosquitoes were very troublesome, 
and there was a perfect plague of flies owing, no 
doubt, to the numbers of dead bodies lying about 
the cityi It was real hardship to do without a 
mosquito net, but we never were short of one in 
the hospital. People gave up their own that the 
sick men might be protected, and I remember 
one mother bringing three, and saying " These 
belong to the children, but they must do without 
rather thin that the men who are fighting for 
them should suffer." 

Bolsters we made of the straw covers in which 
bottles are packed, and pillows of cotton wool, 
though we had many loans of feather ones. 
Sheets, etc , were a more serious difficulty, as the 
supply required was so large — frequent changes 
being absolutely necessary. Fortunately, more 
than one of the stores within the lines of defence, 
whose contents had been commandeered at the 
outset, produced large bales of calico, which was 
cut up and made into sheets, shirts, pillow-cases, 
and aprons, as they were wanted, by Mrs. Conger, 
the American Minister's wife, and the ladies in 
her house. But before these could be got ready 


many people gave us such linen as they could 
spare to go on with. 

From the loot of these same stores came basins, 
cups, plates, knives and forks, kitchen utensils, 
etc., not to speak of miscellaneous articles, such 
as soap, sponges, and bottles of sweets, which 
last used to be handed round at intervals, to the 
great delight of the Tommies of all nationalities. 

The kitchen department was, of course, a very 
important one ; and here, too, the whole manage- 
ment was in the hands of ladies belonging to 
the various Missions. Their task was a most 
arduous one, for not only did it mean constant 
superintendence of the kitchen all through the 
heat of the day, but also the supplies at their 
command were so limited that to vary the menu 
as they did must have required considerable 
effort of brain. It was truly astonishing what 
excellent breakfasts, dinners, and suppers were 
produced daily from very little else than horse- 
flesh and rice. Soups of various kinds, roasts, 
stews, rissoles, pies, patties, curries, used to ap- 
pear on the bill of fare, always served most 
beautifully hot and looking most appetizing. 


Then there were wonderful blancmanges, fritters, 
pancakes, rice-puddings— all made without eggs 
or milk, and yet, strange to say, quite palat- 
able, and indeed making some of us feel we 
should have liked a patient's meal now and 

Variety from perpetual horse-meat was made 
by tinned meats and fish and fruit, mostly con- 
tributed from people's private stores. We began 
by begging a few tins here and there, and then 
very many generously sent in all, and more than 
all, that they could spare. For the first month, 
too, there was occasional mutton from a flock of 
sheep which had been commandeered the first 
day ; but the poor beasts were so thin that the 
tough, skinny meat they produced was not looked 
upon as any great treat. Sometimes, too, a little 
"game" would be provided for some special 
invalid, in the shape of a magpie or a few 
sparrows, which were daintily cooked and served, 
and no questions asked. Eggs were a great treat, 
and I am afraid were sometimes obtained by not 
entirely lawful methods. There were very few 
laying hens in the Legation, but of these a few 


belonged to some people inhabiting one of the 
houses near the hospital. One of our convalescents 
used to keep a sharp eye on these, watch where 
they went to lay, and as soon as the triumphant 
chuckle announcing an egg was heard, would dart 
off on his crutches to secure the prize and bring 
it in to be cooked for some sick comrade. 
For the most part, however, people were most 
generous in sending to the hospital the eggs 
they could ill spare themselves. Milk, of course, 
was a great difficulty — we never had any fresh, 
and even the tinned became very scarce, and 
could be used only for special cases. 

Of course all this could not have been ac- 
complished by the foreign ladies alone. An 
excellent old Chinese cook, himself a Christian 
refugee, did most of the actual kitchen work, 
and stuck to it all day and every day, never 
grudging any amount of trouble by which he 
could make the food a little more palatable for 
the patients. I have seen him run backwards 
and forwards across the little yard between his 
kitchen and the hospital with shot and shell 
flying all round him, and never hesitating an 


instant. We owe much to that old man, and 
his name deserves all honour. 

Tea, coffee, and cocoa were always abundant 
until towards the eighth week of the siege, 
when we had to begin to limit our tea rather 
strictly. Of wines and so forth we had abundance 
for our needs, and there was a small quantity of 
bottled beer, which was dealt out to the men oc- 
casionally. Difficulties in the kitchen department 
used sometimes to arise owing to the many 
different nationalities to be provided for — Russians 
preferring one style of cookery, Italians and 
French another, Germans a third, and so forth. 
On the whole, I think the Japanese were the 
easiest to deal with, as they were always hungry 
and always pleased with whatever was given 
them, provided that there was plenty of it. 

An even more difficult problem to face than 
the providing of food was that of finding dress- 
ings, drugs, and all the many necessaries for 
treating the wounded and the sick. Although 
there were many well-stocked mission hospitals 
and dispensaries scattered about Peking, these 
had all been burnt by the Boxers before the 


siege began, so that we were entirely dependent 
on the resources of the different Legations, which, 
with the exception of those of the British 
and German, were scanty enough, and even 
these, though ample for all ordinary calls, were 
strained to the utmost when required to supply 
sufficient, not only for the hospital, but for the 
needs of almost a thousand foreigners and about 
four thousand Chinese gathered within the lines 
of defence. 

Somehow jot other the drugs did manage to 
hold out, though I fancy the doctors must some- 
times have had good practice in substitution. I 
think, too, that they tried to keep us careful in 
our use of antiseptics, by occasionally not letting 
us know of a private store. With regard to the 
pure carbolic, I remember more than once that 
there "really was not a drop left," when a 
mysterious bottle made its appearance from some 
unknown source. It was a fact, however, that 
we were very short of it, and for weeks used 
it only for instruments, substituting creolin and 
hydrarg. perchlor. for all other purposes. Anaes- 
thetics were also, I believe, a great source of 


anxiety, and the supply was in some danger of 
failing. The antiseptic dressings, too, we used to 
watch with the utmost anxiety, and, as a matter 
of fact, they only just held out. Iodoform gauze 
came to an end after a few weeks, but the 
surgeons fell back on some blue sublimate gauze, 
which in its turn was almost exhausted before 
relief came. The white antiseptic gauze and 
wool had both given out, and we should have 
been in great straits but for Dr. Velde's sterilizer. 
In this we used to prepare all sorts of dressings 
— ladies' fine under-linen, old linen sheets, white 
muslin curtains, were all torn up and put into it 
to come out innocuous. Little bags of powdered 
peat and fine sawdust were prepared in the same 
way, and served as excellent dressings for sup- 
purating wounds, taking the place of absorbent 
wool. We also made large use of Chinese cotton- 
wool, which, though non-absorbent, came in very 
usefully as outside packing. Bandage rolling was 
a never-ending source of occupation for any one 
with a spare half hour ; and there used to be con- 
siderable emulation as to the style in which they 
were turned out. The materials came chiefly 


from the looted stores, which supplied many 
suitable pieces of muslin and calico, though to- 
wards the end, as these supplies ran short, we 
took to sheets and table-cloths, and were con- 
templating raids on the gentlemen's stock of 
shirts. A great nightmare for some of us was 
the fear of breaking a clinical thermometer, with 
the knowledge always in our minds that it was 
impossible to replace it; and when a patient bit 
one or dropped it out of his mouth, we really 
felt inclined to shake him. We were reduced to 
two or three borrowed ones for some time before 
the relief, and at last only a single one survived, 
a very handsome one lent by the wife of the 
late German Minister. Fortunately for us, it 
registered in one minute, otherwise our whole 
time would have been occupied in taking 

I have no record of numbers before me as I 
write, but I do not think I am far wrong in saying 
that out of about 120 cases which were actually 
admitted to the hospital wards, only fourteen died. 
Of these deaths not one was from septic poisoning; 
Two were from tetanus, probably contracted at 



the time of receiving the wound, as they were both 
within fourteen days after admission. Three were 
from dysentery, and the remainder had received 
mortal wounds and died, for the most part, within 
a few hours of admission. The majority of cases 
treated were for wounds from shells and rifle bullets. 
There was one case of spear wound, and two or 
three injuries from brickbats. The proportion of 
those, both among civilians and soldiers, who 
suffered from disease of any kind was remarkably 
small, and this was owing, I think, in a great 
measure to causes which we looked upon rather as 
hardships. Regular and hard manual labour, food 
of the plainest kind, and in quantity rather inclin- 
ing to insufficiency than to excess, absence of 
fresh fruit and vegetables, all tended to lessen the 
danger from the usual summer scourges of cholera, 
typhoid, dysentery, and diarrhoea. Another cause 
of our good health was the moderate weather 
which prevailed throughout the siege. There were 
days when the temperature seemed almost unbear- 
able ; but it was nothing to the weeks of suffo- 
cating heat which are usual in Peking in June and 
July ; and later, when the rainy season ought to 


have set in, there was nothing more severe than an 
occasional stormy day or night. 

There were three cases of typhoid in the hos- 
pital, all of them men who had been brought in 
for wounds, and none of them very severe. During 
the last fortnight there were several cases of 
dysentery, but none acute, except those of some 
Russians who had been drinking impure water. 
A few marines were taken into the hospital for 
diarrhoea, and there were two or three cases of the 
fever so common in Peking during the summer. 
It was very curious and interesting to observe the 
way in which the different nationalities behaved ; 
but if we tried to make generalizations, we were 
always met by. exceptions which threw our ideas 
into hopeless confusion. The Russians, for in- 
stance, were, as a rule, most stolid and silent about 
their pain. One man we had, who, after having 
tracheotomy performed on him, astonished us all 
by getting up from the table and marching off by 
himself to his ward, quite disdaining any help. 
On the other hand, another Russian, with a flesh- 
wound in the leg, used to cry like a child when it 
was dressed, kiss the doctor's hand to his no small 


embarrassment and cling to mine till he almost 
broke the bones. 

The French and Italians were for the most part 
inclined to make the most of their wounds, with 
a view to a little longer rest in hospital, while the 
British and Americans were usually in too great 
a hurry to make out that they were well enough 
to return to duty, but to both cases there were 
large exceptions. I remember one Frenchman, in 
particular, who bore terrible suffering without a 
murmur, while, on the other hand, the most 
troublesome and undisciplined patient in the hos- 
pital was an American marine. The only nation- 
ality of whose conduct one could predict anything 
with almost absolute certainty was the Japanese. 
They invariably were brave and cheery, and made 
as light as possible of their pains. Almost all 
of them could speak a few words of English, and 
their usual answer to inquiries was " goose (good)j 
very little pain ; " things had to be very bad 
indeed before they would acknowledge, "much 
pain," or " no sleep." One man — Kuchiki by name 
— was brought in during the early days of the siege 
with his knee absolutely smashed to pieces by a 


shell. It suppurated badly and was most painful, 
yet he used to bear the daily dressing without a 
murmur, with a blanket stuffed into his mouth, and 
the perspiration pouring down his face. His bed 
was near a window ; and one day, as he found the 
sun too hot on his head, and saw no one at hand to 
help him, he managed to shuffle himself completely 
round, with his feet where his head had been. 
Our chaplain, the Rev. R. Allen, who used to 
be constantly at the hospital, happened to go into 
the ward and inquired who had moved him. To 
his astonishment Kuchiki replied that he had 
moved himself, whereupon Mr. Allen gave him 
some pretty straightforward remonstrances on the 
danger of playing such tricks with a leg like his, 
and left the ward. Poor Kuchiki's English was 
not quite equal to the occasion. He saw he had 
done something which did not meet with the 
approval of Mr. Allen, to whom he was devoted 
and was determined to make matters all right 
again ; but imagining that his mistake lay, not in 
his having exerted himself to change his position, 
but in lying with his head at the wrong end cf the 
bed, he immediately set ^o work to shuffle himself 


round once more, and when, about ten minutes 
later, Mr. Allen again looked in, he found Kuchiki 
again lying with his head in the blazing sun, and 
a smile of conscious virtue on his face. 

The Japanese were all together in one ward, 
and used to be exceedingly kind to one another, 
and also were well looked after by their own 
people. Colonel Shiba and some of the ladies 
from the Japanese Legation came to see them ; 
but their most constant visitor was a Buddhist 
bonze, who was with them almost daily. He was 
a most intelligent man, and could speak a con- 
siderable amount of English, so that he was often 
helpful as interpreter. I do not think that he 
exercised any spiritual functions among his coun- 
trymen except in burying the dead, but he certainly 
took great interest in their physical well-being. 

The French and Italians were in a ward to- 
gether, and were chiefly nursed by a French Sister 
of Charity from the Nan Tang. The Roman 
Catholic priests never seemed to visit any except 
the dying. The Russians were visited most 
assiduously by the Greek Fathers, who not only 
attended to their spiritual Welfare, but used to be 


most helpful in waiting upon them in every way. 
They could not speak English nor we Russian, 
but all understood Chinese, and so our conver- 
sation used to be carried on through that medium. 
Difference of language was often a difficulty, but 
we never came to any great deadlock in the 
Russian ward, owing to the kindness of Madame 
de Giers, the Russian Minister's wife, and other 
ladies, who were constantly there looking after 
their countrymen, and who were always ready to 
interpret for us. Some of the Austrians were the 
most impossible, as they did not seem to under- 
stand anything but a patois of their own. Italians, 
Germans, and French we generally could manage 
to understand amongst us, and we used to try, as 
far as might be, to put the patients of different 
nationalities together, so that they might be better 
company for one another. 

The hospital was open for just eight weeks and 
a half, and then the patients were drafted off to 
the different field hospitals established by the 
relieving forces. I must acknowledge that it was 
not without a feeling of satisfaction that we closed 
the doors. In saying this I would not for a 


moment imply that we did not find pleasure in 
our work. On the contrary, I think it was a real 
happiness to every one of us, but in many ways 
it was a great strain, both mental and physical, 
and there was not one amongst us who was not 
obliged to give in for a longer or shorter period 
during the two months. All of us had been 
through a very anxious and distressing time in 
our own compounds before we came into the 
Legation ; and during the siege the conditions 
were not exactly favourable to endurance. Few 
were able to get much sleep, as I doubt if any 
one enjoyed the luxury of a proper bed or a 
comfortable room ; and as the worst attacks were 
often made at night, many did not dare even to 
undress. Our food was not sufficient, either in 
quantity or quality, to prevent our getting below 
par ; and, in addition to these disadvantages, there 
was the constant sense of danger, or, when that 
was not present, the sickening suspense which was 
almost more trying to bear. I believe it was a 
great help to us to have to keep up the spirits 
of our poor patients, which were apt to get very 
low at times. With them, as with us, the horror 


was not so much of being shot (personally that 
did not alarm me at all) as of the enemy's getting 
in and butchering us. I remember on more than 
one occasion giving the patients a meal when we 
could hardly hear ourselves speak, and when it 
was next to impossible to hear what the doctors 
asked for in the operating room. The smallness 
of the number of the besieged added one more 
touch to the pathos, as not only did we feel that 
each individual laid aside could ill be spared from 
the slender garrison, but also many of the 
wounded were personally known to us, and it was 
hard to see a man we had perhaps spoken with 
a few hours before, brought in on a stretcher — a 
mangled heap of pain — while, "Who will it be 
next ? " was the question which would rise in our 
hearts, however determinedly we might resist its 

All these causes made us glad, therefore, to 
close the siege hospital, and go to more peaceful 
scenes, though I shall always feel grateful for 
having been allowed to work there, and sure that 
the occupation it gave me was one of my greatest 
blessings during the siege. 

Peking, May 29 th, 1900. 


We have been passing through 
exciting times lately, and I want to 
write down something about them while things 
are fresh in my mind — though by the time this 
reaches you the news will be stale, and you will 
know the sequel, which as yet is an unsolved 

You know that ever since the troubles down in 
Shantung, in the winter, the "Boxer" movement 
has been steadily spreading and advancing north- 
wards, and though in some places it has died out, it 
has always sprung up elsewhere. Lately the Chris- 
tians in most of the country stations have been 
kept in a state of terrorism — robbery, kidnapping, 
and even murder have been common ; and chapels, 
house?, etc., have been burnt to the ground. The 


Roman Catholic Missions have been the greatest 
sufferers of all, but all have suffered heavily in one 
place or another. The Chinese officials seemed 
entirely unable to cope with the movement, even 
when they were willing; and the Government 
would, or could, do nothing but issue edicts, many 
of which were so dubiously worded that they 
might have been taken as equally favourable to 
the " Boxers," or to Christians and foreigners. 

The foreign Governments have been representing 
perpetually, but nothing has come of it, and matters 
have been getting more and more disturbed, and 
more and more outrages committed day by day 
For the last week or two, Christians from the 
country have been taking refuge in the city, 
especially the Roman Catholics and London 
Mission people. 

None of our own people have come, as, so far, 
thanks a good deal I believe to Mr. Norman's 
presence, no real damage has been done in the 
Yung Ch'ing district, which is our only near 
country station, though there has been a good 
deal of abuse and threatening. 
Last week qll the foreign Ministers combined 


to try to force the Chinese Government to act, but 
they could get nothing definite out of them. At 
last, on Sunday the foreign Powers issued an 
ultimatum to the effect that if the " Boxers " were 
not reduced in a week, they would all send for 
their troops from their warships. Things were 
beginning to look very serious indeed by that 
time, for the "Boxers" proper were being re- 
inforced by all the rogues about the country, and 
hunger was making them more keen for plunder. 
The long drought, which they ascribe to the 
Christians, has been another great factor in causing 
the discontent, and we longed for the sound of 
rain, which would probably have "the happy effect 
of sending some of them back to their fields, and 
also would render the roads impassable. 

On Monday the place was filled with all sorts 
of rumours of the wildest kind, but we knew of 
nothing definite till the afternoon, when Mrs. Scott 
went over to the British Legation. While she 
was away, Dr. Poole came over to see my sister, 
who had a slight attack of fever, and brought 
the alarming news that the Boxers had torn up a 
part of the line to Tientsin, and cut the telegraph 


wires, and that the foreign engineers, etc., had 
fled for their lives! He had hardly gone when 
a thunderstorm broke with torrents of blessed 
rain, in the midst of which Mrs. Scott arrived, 
having heard nothing of this last news, but not 
bringing anything very reassuring, and a promise 
from Sir Claude Macdonald to send for her and 
the other ladies at the first sign of danger in the 

About 10 p.m., when we were all going off 
to bed, came a message asking Mrs. Scott to 
go over to the Legation at once and take any 
other ladies she liked with her. Accordingly, we 
bundled my poor sister up in eider-downs, etc., 
and she and Miss Lambert crammed into Mrs. 
Scott's cart with her, and off they went, taking 
also the valuable deeds, etc., belonging to the 
Mission. They were not very willing to go, but 
the fewer foreigners here the better, and it was 
obviously my privilege to stay in charge of the 
ten women and children still left in the school 
buildings. Most fortunately, the greater number 
of school-girls went home ten days ago. 

The cause of the hasty summons was that the 


Boxers had set fire to the large new railway 
station at Feng T'ai, a few miles from Peking, 
and, until we have a foreign guard, Sir Claude 
felt he could not be sure where they would 
come next. 

Afterwards there was a rumour that they came 
to the Peking station, about two miles outside 
the city, maltreated the station-master, and burnt 
all the tickets, by which they thought to prevent 
the possibility of any one going by train ! 

Most fortunately, although they had cut the 
new telegraph line which runs by the railway, 
they had quite forgotten the old one, which is 
still in working order, and Ministers were tele- 
graphing away all night, and ordered up troops 
from the ships. The night passed over peacefully 
in spite of disquieting rumours, and next morn- 
ing Mrs. Scott came over to see us, intending to 
return to the Legation for the night. However, 
a note from Lady Macdonald in the afternoon 
said this was not necessary, as the foreign troops 
would soon be up, and the railway mended, ard 
the danger over. 
The next day, yesterday, she went over in the 


morning, intending to bring the other two back. 
Mr. Allen went with her, and left a kind American 
neighbour of ours, Mr. Stelle, in charge in his 
absence. There were all sorts of wild rumours 
about when they started — one of the most preva- 
lent being that a great Chinese army is massed 
outside the city to prevent the foreign troops 
from coming in. I was therefore not surprised 
to hear that Mrs. Scott had come back without 
the other two, and was herself to return early in 
the afternoon. 

Mr. Allen and I were very anxious about 
having so many helpless women and girls on 
our hands, the more so as there has been a good 
deal of kidnapping of girls in this Boxer move- 
ment. We racked our brains to know what to 
do with them. Many of our Christians have 
heathen friends who have promised to give them 
shelter ; but these women and children in the 
school had no resource of that kind. One of 
our catechists, too— a very good fellow, called 
Shih— was in the same predicament, as he has 
only lately come from Shantung, and he has an 
old mother and two grown-up sisters, besides his 


wife and two children, dependent on him. At 
last some one, I think Mrs. Scott, made the 
brilliant suggestion that, as the railway was open 
again, we might send them off to Tientsin. 

Accordingly we packed them off, i.e. the Shihs 
and five from the school, at a quarter of an 
hour's notice, by twos and threes, going different 
ways so as not to attract attention, and with 
orders to their escorts to turn back on the least 
sign of disturbance. 

Happily they got off quietly, so now I have 
only three women and two little girls left on my 
hands. They sent us over four bayonets from 
the Legation, and I had an armed teacher sleeping 
on our dining-room sofa last night, and Mr. Allen 
and some of the Christians have divided the night 
into watches and patrol the compound. 

May list. We have had a perfectly peaceful 
night ; but the rumours grow more and more 
persistent that the entrance of foreign troops 
is to be resisted, and one hardly knows what 
that would mean. However, we have nothing to 
do but say our prayers and be still. Our people 


are all behaving admirably ; there has never been 
any fuss or panic, and we none of us feel at all 

Mrs. Scott has not been over to-day, and I 
think it wiser. She is very reluctant not to be 
with us, but the fewer we are is certainly the 
better in case of a riot. We don't know where 
the Bishop is. He must be somewhere between 
here and Shantung, and we fear he will be 
alarmed by all sorts of wild rumours about us. 

1 p.m. — A note from Mrs. Scott saying the 
guards are expected to-night, but they are keep- 
ing all the ladies at the Legation till over to- 
morrow, as it is a big Chinese feast, and they 
fear a little rowdyism. 

8 p.m. — The foreign guards did not arrive 
when they were expected, and we hear they did 
not leave Tientsin till 4.15, and only 380 of. 
them, seventy-five of whom are British. There 
is considerable fear that, arriving so late, they 
will not be allowed to enter the city, and we do 
not feel at all sure that the Chinese Govern- 
ment are playing straight. The danger to-night 
seems very great, and I have put on Chinese 



dress, and we are prepared to fly for our lives 
at any moment — though whither we know 

8.30. — Te Deum laudamus. We hear the troops 
have got in, and now we are going to church 
to give thanks where they are due. 

June 1st. — We have had a quiet night, and 
can look back now on yesterday's anxiety as 
a closed chapter, I think. As a matter of fact, 
I believe we never were in actual danger, but 
so near it that a very small touch would have 
broken the barrier, and we should have been 
at the mercy of a Chinese mob 1 Our nearest 
neighbours, Dr. and Mrs. Reid and Mr. Stelle, 
were prepared to fly, and Dr. Reid had ordered 
carts to be in readiness for us. Mr. Allen's plan 
was that we should get out of the back door 
of our compound if possible, get into these carts, 
and drive about the city till daWn, when the 
gates would be opened, then try to get through 
and make for Yung Ch'ing— he and I both in 
Chinese clothes. A Chinese mandarin, a friend 
'of Dr. Reid, had generously offered to take iil 

The siege hospital in Peking. 35 

Mrs. Reid and conceal her in his house. How 
thankful we ought to feel that we have been 
spared all this ! Our people have behaved so 
well, given no trouble. The women and children 
and the school have behaved like real "bricks." 
The Christians have done one very knowing 
thing, which would never have struck me, I 
think, that is, pawned all their best clothes and 
anything they set value on, so that the greater 
part of their property has been converted into 
pawn tickets, which are easily portable property ! 

June 2nd. — More bad news! One of our 
Christians has come in from a village close to 
Yung Ch'ing saying that the Boxers have burnt 
the houses of the Christians in his village and 
killed his wife. He himself managed to escape 
by hiding under a cupboard, though the Boxers 
three times came into the room. His feet are 
burnt, but he managed to get up here in about 
thirty hours, the fifty miles. He can give no 
news of how the other Christians fared, nor of 
what Mr. Norman is doing. All he knows is 
that on passing through he found our compound 


deserted, so we hope he is taking refuge in the 
Yamen. We are very anxious. 

The catechist Ma from Tai Wang Chuang, a 
village some five miles north of Yung Ch'ing, 
has just come. He had not heard of the disaster 
in T'ao erh Hsiang, but says the whole country 
is very disturbed, and the Christians hiding where 
they can. He knows nothing of Mr. Norman's 
movements. Mr. Allen has been to report at 
the Legation, and we must just pray and wait 
for news. 

We are hoping the Bishop and Mr. Norris may 
get into Tientsin to-night, but we have heard 
nothing of them since they started from T'ai An 
Fu about ten days or a fortnight ago. Mrs. Scott 
went down to Tientsin this morning. 

7 p.m. — A telegram has just come, saying the 
Bishop and Mr. Norris have reached Tientsin 
safely, and intend to come up on Tuesday ; but 
Mr. Allen is telegraphing to ask the latter to 
come to-morrow. We are getting more and more 
anxious about Mr. Norman and Mr. Robinson. 
Terrible rumours. Edith and Miss Lambert have 
got back from the Legation. 


June ird, Whitsunday. — This has been a 
strange, sad Sunday, and I find it difficult to 
write about it. We had no Celebration, as Mr. 
Allen was obliged to go and give them one in 
the Legation Chapel. More and more rumours 
kept coming in from Yung Ch'ing. One of the 
Christians belonging to the American Methodists, 
who have a chapel near Yung Ch'ing, brought 
word that Mr. Robinson had escaped to the 
Yamen, but the magistrate had refused him ad- 
mission, and he had been killed, and that Mr. 
Norman was a prisoner. The report had come 
to him through two or three different people, 
and we hope we need not believe it. 

I sent a man down to Yung Ch'ing to see what 
definite news he could bring, but he can't be back 
before to-morrow night at the earliest. It was 
very difficult to find any one willing to go, they 
are all so frightened. A telegram came in the 
course of the morning to say Mr. Norris was 
coming to-day. 

We had gone over to Mrs. Scott's to meet him, 
and were all sitting at tea when another messenger 
was announced. He was not a Christian, but 


knew Mr. Norman and Mr. Robinson well, and 
had helped in the building of Tai Wang Chuang 

He unfortunately confirms the worst rumour. 
He says he himself saw Mr. Robinson's body 
lying inside the North Gate at Yung Ch'ing, and 
that the band of Boxers wanted also to kill Mr. 
Norman, but that a leading man called Li Chen 
Pang dissuaded them and has taken him to his 
own house in a little village rather over a mile 
from Yung Ch'ing. We can only hope he will 
continue to protect him till he can be released. 
Our Legation are doing what they can, but we 
are terribly anxious. 

They have burnt down the beautiful new 
church at Tai Wang Chuang. We keep hearing 
of other Christians killed and are very anxious 
about them, so many have near relations here, as 
most of the people employed in our compound 
come from there. We had sent our Shantung 
girl Eunice there for her holiday and have no 
idea where she is. 

The poor Bishop will be hearing all to-night, 
as Mr. Norris wired the news to him. We must 


be very thankful he has arrived safely at Tientsin, 
for these last few days he has been travelling in 
a very dangerous part. 

June ^th. — Another day gone by and no definite 
news. Soldiers (Chinese) are said to have been 
sent from Tientsin to demand Mr. Norman's 
release, and somehow I cannot but feel we shall 
have him back. He is such a valuable man that 
from a human point of view it seems as though 
Yung Ch'ing could not do without him. He is 
so beloved, too, and looked up to by heathen as 
well as Christian, and, indeed, the sparing of his 
life now is due to the respect in which he is 
held by the man in whose power he is. 

Another station on the line has been burnt 
to-day, and we hear that the foreign Ministers 
are now threatening the Government with the 
occupation of Chihli, if strong measures for the 
restoration of order are not at once taken. The 
fleet is all at the Bar at Taku, and could attack 
the forts instantly. 

Our cook, a heathen, told me solemnly thi'3 
morning that he thought we had much better go 


to Japan for awhile, as foreigners are not safe 
here. However, I told him I had no intention 
of moving at present. Our people are so good 
and quiet — many in terrible anxiety about near 
relations at Yung Ch'ing, and yet going steadily 
on with their daily duties in quiet trustfulness. 
One poor old refugee who has had his home burnt 
down over his head, and his wife killed, and got 
his own feet badly burnt in making his escape, 
has not a word of complaint to make ; the whole 
burden of his song is " grateful ; thankful to the 
end" for all mercies. They do set us a good 
example ! 

About noon a telegram came from the Consul 
at Tientsin to say that it had been officially 
reported to him that the Boxers killed Mr. 
Norman on Whitsunday, June 3rd. Shortly after, 
a man from Yung Ch'ing arrived with the same 
story. We must try and enter into the glorious 
joy of his rest from his labours ; but oh the loss 
to us, and to the work! I cannot write of it 
to-day. " God is His own interpreter, and He 
will make it plain." 

The disturbance seems to be gathering to a 


head in all directions, and we may at any time 
be in great danger, but as there is nothing to 
be done we must just go on quietly and say our 
prayers : even if our lives are taken it will all be 
right — we know that. Only may our people be 
strengthened to confess their faith without fear. 
We have sad tales of recantations among some 
of our poor people about Yung Ch'ing, but wc 
do not know how much to believe yet. There 
has been a wire from the Bishop to say he is 
detained till to-morrow ; we do not know why, 
but think probably the line is cut again. 

Mr. Norris is a great comfort and strength to 
Mr. Allen and the Christians. 

We sang " For all the Saints " in church at 
Sext to-day ; we are having special prayer at 12.30 
every day at present in Chinese. At Evensong 
Mr. Allen preached to us about the present 
danger and how we ought to meet it ; beautiful, 
helpful words about the hope that is set before 
us, to which a violent death may be but a shorter 

Mr. Norris has been writing a letter to the 
poor Yung Ch'ing Christians to strengthen and 


encourage them, and try to get them to remain true 
to their faith at whatever cost of present suffering ; 
and our dear organist, Shu T'ien, wants to take it 
to try to recover some of those whose courage 
has failed, and bring them back to a confession of 
their faith. Mr. Allen had not made up his mind 
whether he ought to let him go last time I saw 
him. If it is right, he must ; but we can hardly 
bear to think of his doing so. He is such a 
splendid boy, and head of the Clergy School. 

No patients come to the dispensary in these 
days, they are too much frightened of us ; and 
very few boys come to school, so that our work 
seems rather to have left us at present. All this 
while I have not told you that Dr. Alice Marston is 
at rest. She sailed from Shanghai in the Empress 
of Japan on May 19th, and was quite well for a 
day. On the Sunday, however, she had a kind of 
apoplectic seizure, and became quite unconscious. 
She was taken ashore at Nagasaki by Bishop 
Evington, never recovered consciousness, and died 
the next day, May 22nd. Such a painless, peace- 
ful ending, and still in her beloved East, where she 
had always wished to die ! Six members of the 


Mission have gone from earth to Paradise since 
we were at Chefoo last June, and three by violent 
deaths. Who will be next ? 

June 6th. — Very little to relate to-day except 
that the disquiet still increases on all sides. No 
trains have come to-day, and they think the wire 
is now cut ; if so, I believe that is the signal for 
the troops from the fleet to march. Meanwhile 
we feel that anything may happen at any minute, 
and all that we can do is to say our prayers and 
keep as quiet as we can. Almost all the women 
and children have found a refuge among kindly 
heathen friends and relations, which relieves our 
hands a good deal. 

Mr. Allen and Mr. Norris are giving very helpful 
addresses twice a day in church, to try and keep 
up the courage and faith of the Christians, and 
they are all being very good. But we feel very, 
very sad about the many lapses at Yung Ch'ing. 
It is the hardest trial of all ; but I do believe, in 
many cases it was sheer ignorance. If poor Mr. 
Norman knew it must have added tenfold to his 
sufferings, and we are much afraid he did, 


I feel so grieved for the Bishop and Mrs. Scott 
to-day ; they must be fearfully anxious about us, 
and unable to hear a word. 

June ytk, H. B. M. Legation. — This morning 
Mr. Norris came over here, and Sir Claude Mac- 
donald urged his sending us here, which he decided 
to do ; and though I very much disliked the idea 
of leaving the compound, there really was no 
reasonable objection to be made, as we could bring 
Miss Hung and the two little Chefoo orphans 
with us. 

June Zth. — I was too tired to write any more 
last night, and don't feel very much more like it 
now ; but I must not get too far behindhand in my 
record of this extraordinary time, for most truly 
extraordinary it is. The city, to all outward 
appearance, is perfectly quiet, yet here we are in 
the Legation, ordered to prepare ourselves to 
stand a fortnight's siege ! We are — five of us — 
living and sleeping in two rooms, and with 
Mr. Norris and Mr. Allen coming in to meals. 
The five are Deaconess Edith, Miss Lambert, 


myself, Miss Hung, and the two little girls— six, 
you see, really, but Edith sleeps at Mrs. Cock- 
burn's. The American women and children have 
all been ordered to leave the city by the first 
train that goes, but when that will be who can 
tell ? The Boxers at present break the line as 
soon as it is mended, and no train has been up 
since Monday. And yet to-day I have been over 
to the Mission with Mr. Allen, and all is absolutely 
quiet and peaceful. The danger to be really 
feared is, I suppose, the collapse of the Govern- 
ment if the troops become disaffected. If that 
happened there would be anarchy until some 
foreign Power stepped in, and we should have short 
shrift. No one, of course, can tell how things may 
be. Mr. Cockburn says there is not a man in the 
Tsungli Yamen ; they are nothing but a set of 
jelly-fish ! I cannot help wishing things would 
come to a crisis now and let the inevitable con* 
vulsion come. If not, we shall only tide on in 
the same old way, I suppose, for another two or 
three years or so, and then the same trouble again. 
All our poor Christians are scattered about 
trying to find safe refuges. Shu T'ien has gone 


to Yung Ch'ing, and also another of the college 
boys — Yu Ch'un. They are in terrible danger, 
and our hearts are very anxious and sad about 
them all. We must try not to be despondent, but 
just now things look as black as they can be for 
all our work. " God moves in a mysterious way," 
and we shall understand some day. I wonder if 
this diary will ever reach you. 

I have just been going through my stores to see 
if I can stand a fortnight's siege, as we all have 
orders to be prepared for such a contingency, and 
so I have bought flour, rice, tinned meats, etc., to 
a large extent. 

June gtA. — To-day there seems to be a general 
feeling that an attack is expected to-night, though 
why I cannot make out. Orders have been issued 
that all British subjects must come into the Lega- 
tion, except a certain number who are intending 
to defend the Customs. The lines of defence 
which have been drawn out include all, or nearly 
all, of the foreign Legations, and our Legation 
forms the north-west corner. The Russians and 
Americans who adjoin us are td come in here if 


hard pressed, as we are most defensible. At 
present all looks quiet within the city, but they 
say the whole country outside is in a perfect 

The Boxers have to-day burned down the 
pavilion and houses at the Race-Course, about two 
miles from the city, and were assembled there in 
large numbers. Some of the Legation students 
riding out saw them, and rode in at once to report. 
Two who were riding a little later, however, were 
nearly caught in an ambush by the roadside ; but 
they were armed with revolvers, which they fired 
with some effect, and escaped, They had no 
business to have ridden out, as they had been 
informed of the danger ; but, like most British 
boys, their valour was greater than their discretion. 
Now, Sir Claude has forbidden any one to ride 
out of the city at all. 

It is a strange state of things. Here we are cut 
off from the outer world entirely, and there seems 
to be no real forecasting of the end. We only 
fear that all will be allowed just to quiet down 
without any proper settlement, and then the 
trouble will all come on again in a year or two; 


It seems to some of us that if we were all 
massacred it would be well worth while, if only 
it would stir up the world to take poor China in 
hand and govern her as she can never govern 

June \oth, Trinity Stinday. — Mr. Allen cele- 
brated at 8.30 here, and there was quite a nice 
little gathering of communicants. Mr. Norris 
went home, and celebrated for the four men still 
left on the compound. At eleven service was held 
here in one of the great pavilions leading up to the 
Minister's residence, as the little chapel could not 
have accommodated the congregation, increased 
as it was by soldiers and refugees. A temporary 
altar was placed at one end, and covered with the 
Union Jack, and the cross and vases placed upon 
it, so as to make a little bit of a church-like effect ; 
but I think, as far as our feelings went, there was 
no need for any outward accessories to increase 
the solemnity and the earnestness of our prayers 
and intercessions, not only for ourselves, but for 
" all in anxiety at home." 

We went home to find one of our Christians 


waiting for us with the sad news that Hsu San, 
the Bishop's carter, had joined the Boxers, and 
that all our people were terribly afraid, because he 
knows all their hiding-places, and they feared 
he would certainly betray them. We do not 
know how far this story is really true, but it is 
clear that all our Christians believe it, and I fear 
it is not unlikely, as the man is a good deal of 
a scoundrel, and a clever scoundrel too, who would 
be likely to seize on any chance for bringing 
himself a little gain. 

I went over to the Mission this afternoon with 
Mr. Norris, and had a most sad time then with the' 
few poor women still remaining. I found them all 
together in one house, with the door barred, weep- 
ing, and in a complete state of panic and terror. 
Two of them have been hiding in heathen houses, 
but yesterday houses of several people who had 
sheltered Christians were burned, so they dared 
keep them no longer, and they have crept back 
home. Poor things ! they clung to me so, and 
some implored me to take them back here with 
me, and oh it is hard to refuse them ; and yet 
what can we do? To stay with them would do 



no good, and make it even more dangerous for 
them, as without a foreigner they have a chance of 
escaping in the crowd, and to bring them here 
is impossible. The Minister could not take them. 
The Legation is already more than packed, and 
I have Miss Hung and the two children here only 
as the greatest favour, and with injunctions to 
keep them out of sight, lest other Missions should 
want to bring their refugees in. 

As we came home there was great excitement 
about a fire, and we thought it must be one of the 
Mission compounds, but it turned out to be only 
an ordinary house on fire. 

The telegraph wire is cut now, so that all 
communication has ceased, but we heard this 
morning that about 1400 men have started up the 
line, preceded by a construction train, and we 
have great hopes of them up to-morrow. 

June lll/i, S. Barnabas. — Celebration this 
morning ; we three the only communicants, but 
some of the community people have asked for 
another to-morrow. 

The carts went out this morning to meet the 


hoped-for soldiers, and convey their baggage, but 
they came back empty, and we hear nothing of 
them yet. More sad news : the Boxers have 
burnt down the Summer Legation at the Hills, 
and our dear little home at S. Hilary's, and the 
London Mission sanitorium, and we hear of more 
murdering and plundering on every side. We 
hear, also, that Prince Ch'ing, who was rather 
favourable to us, has been turned out of the 
Tsungli Yamen, and replaced by Prince Tuan, 
who is a pro-Boxer ; and now there is a report 
that Prince Ch'ing has been killed, but it is not 
authenticated. Mr. Norris and Mr. Allen have 
both gone over to the Mission, and I am anxious 
for them to get back, as one never knows when a 
disturbance may begin in the city. 

It is very hot to-day, and we are cramped up in 
very close quarters — about 150 Britishers now 
in the Legation, besides Chinese. However, we 
are all well, and very fairly cheerful. It is such 
a comfort to be able to have the daily services ; 
and Mr. Allen began to-day to give us a series 
of lectures on the Minor Prophets, which are most 
interesting and delightful, and what I have long 


wanted. But it does seem so strange to have 
waited for them till we are in this pass. 

Donkey couriers still manage to get through 
to and from Tientsin, though the letters are 
sometimes several days old. However, I have 
just had one from Mrs. Scott, written only two 
days and a half ago. She and the Bishop were 
anxious then about us, and must be far more so 
now that the telegraphic communication is cut 

10.30 p.m. — Two pieces of news — one good, 
and one bad. To begin with the good. There 
is a report that our relief troops, under Admiral 
Seymour, are within about fourteen miles of the 
city, so that we may hope for them to-morrow. 
I do hope it may be true, and the Minister seems 
to have great hope that it is so. 

The bad news is that one of the Secretaries 
from the Japanese Legation has been killed just 
outside the City Gate by the Kansu cavalry. It 
appears that he was going out alone in a cart, 
on a message to some of the Japanese guard, and 
the soldiers simply set upon him and killed him. 
The Japs will be furious about this— there will be 


no holding them. Now I must go to bed. We 
feel far more hopeful to-night: if we get the 
soldiers we may be allowed to go home with a 

June i2tk. — It must have been a false report 
about the troops yesterday, for now, at n p.m., 
we have heard no news of them, and scouts who 
have been out can hear nothing ; they only bring 
word that, as far as they have been, the line is 
very much injured. There is a rumour to-day 
that 2000 Russians' have landed at Taku, and 
that the Japs have sent for 20,000 men, but we 
do not know how much is true. 

They managed to mend up the telegraph wire 
that runs vid Kiakta to S. Petersburg yesterday, 
but to-night we hear that it has been broken 

The day has been uneventful here — very hot — 
103 degrees in the shade. The lectures on 
the Minor Prophets are most interesting, and 
it makes up very much for our captivity to have 
a chance of getting some really good teaching 
for ourselves, instead of always for the Chinese. 


The soldiers, too, are very much interested in 
some lectures he is giving them, and many of 
them seem so glad of the chance cf coming to 
church that one feels the time here need not be 
wasted. We have heard of more burnings outside 
the city to-day, but, so far, nothing has been 
ventured inside. 

June \\th t 6.30 a.m. — I did not get my journal 
written last night, as we were suddenly ordered 
to put ourselves in a state of active defence, and 
everything was topsy-turvy for a while in our 
rooms, which were occupied by soldiers, and we 
have been encamping in ths ball-room for the 
night. But I must tell you in order. The morn- 
ing was quite uneventful, but about five o'clock 
we heard two pieces of news — one, that a courier 
had come through from our troops with letters 
from the Admiral, saying that they had got to 
Lang Fang, about forty miles from here, and 
exactly half way from Tientsin. It was good to 
hear, but disappointing that they were still so 
far off, as the air here was getting very highly 
charged with excitement. The other news was 


that the Germans had captured a Boxer, who 
had been one of the three swaggering about in 
Legation Street in all their war-paint and with 
drawn swords. Unfortunately, the one they caught 
was only a boy of about seventeen or eighteen, 
but still capable enough of doing a great deal 
of mischief. The German Minister attacked him 
with a stick, in what seems to us an undignified 
manner rather! He was taken into the German 
Legation, and the Chinese authorities informed, 
but the Germans refused to give him up. At 
7.30 we suddenly saw a great column of smoke 
to the east, and then, in about half an hour, a 
volley of rifle-shots in Legation Street, and a lot 
of the soldiers tore up the stairs into our rooms. 
The Boxers were streaming into the city by the 
Ha Ta Men, the gate to the east of us, and 
orders had been given to clear the streets within 
the lines of defence, and put everything into a 
state of defence. It was really beautiful to see 
how orderly it all was. Every man — military and 
civil alike — had his post, and was at it in a 
moment. The next thing we saw was a huge 
fire breaking out north-east of us — the American 


Board Mission ; it spread rapidly, and there must 
have been quite a quarter of a mile of fire by 
1 1 p.m. The servants fled, and we are left to do 
as best we can. About midnight we got the 
children and ourselves moved over here into the 
ball-room, and the night has been quite quiet, 
though early on, before we settled, the Maxim 
was going at the Austrian Legation — only to clear 
the crowd, I think. We long to know what has 
been happening in the West City, where our com- 
pound is. I did not tell you that yesterday 
morning bloody hands appeared on the walls in 
several parts of the city, which was the precursor 
of this, I suppose. I do hope our troops may 
be here before night. 

9.15 p.m. — This morning a Boxer was caught 
inside the lines, and brought into our Legation. 
The whole morning conflagrations went on, and 
the church and convent belonging to the Roman 
Catholics not far from our Mission, were burnt down. 
We were told that ours also had gone, but later 
news says that it has been partially plundered, 
and is to be burnt to-night. It is a most ex- 
traordinary state of things here : all are in a state 


of siege, and see our various houses being burnt 
in all directions — houses belonging to the Customs 
and banks, as well as Missions, and still our 
soldiers do not come. The delay seems inex- 

This afternoon the Germans, who are keeping 
the south wall, shot about ten Boxers and 
wounded some. We heard the shots, and could 
see them running about quite plainly. The Rus- 
sians are next us, to the south, and the Cossacks 
are posted on the roofs. Our house is full of 
soldiers to-night, and we are going over to the 
ball-room again. 

The Austrian Maxim has been going again, 
but I have not heard why. Both our servants 
ran away yesterday, and we are getting on as 
best we may, with the help of a Christian refugee, 
who knows nothing of service, but is very willing. 

The psalms and lessons and prayers all come 
home so wonderfully, and seem just to fit our 
cases day by day. 

10.45. — There is wild excitement in the city : 
a raging, yelling mob. Still some hope that the 
2000 Russians may get in. 


June i6tk, 11.30 a.m. — Yesterday I could not 
write my journal, it was such a sad, sad day for 
us. Our messenger, Tu Shu Fu, came over at 
8 a.m. to say that S. Faith's had been partially 
looted, but not the other houses in the com- 
pound ; and that all our people were hidden 
away, and he had not seen any of them for 
two days. This quite cheered us, and we sent 
him back again for the day ; but he had not 
been gone long before we saw a great fire burst 
out in the direction of our house, and by noon 
Tu Shu Fu was back again to say that he had 
left both our compounds full of Boxers come to 
burn the houses, and, worse far than all that, 
most of our people had come back, having been 
turned out by the people who were hiding them, 
as they feared for their own lives and property. 
You can imagine what we felt like ; we could only 
pray that the end had been mercifully short, but 
it is heart-rending work. We can only try to 
dwell most on the bright side, and think of the 
gathering in Paradise and the many martyrs' 

The great Roman Catholic church near our 


compound, the Nan Tang, was also burned, and 
there was a terrible massacre of Christians. The 
Russians and French sent out a relief party, and 
rescued two or three hundred, and killed a lot 
of Boxers, whom they caught red-handed ; and 
in the afternoon another small party went and 
brought away a great number of others, and did 
more execution among the Boxers. About 5 p.m. 
I went out with Mr. Allen to one of the foreign 
stores within the lines of defence to try and buy 
some more tinned provisions, lime-juice, etc. We 
went all round the lines, which include most of 
the Legations, and are held by the various nation- 
alities. There are barriers of carts and barrels 
across the ends of the streets, and guns at all 
the Legations, and every street is patrolled by 
sentries. We met two cartloads of poor wounded 
Christians coming into the lines, and when we 
got home we heard that about two hundred more 
had been put into a large compound opposite 
the Legation. Edith and I went over to see if 
any of ours were there, but they were all Roman 
At night there were great fires in the west, 


and now I think every Mission compound and 
foreign house outside the lines has been burnt, 
with the exception of a great Roman Catholic 
church and compound in the North City, which 
is defended by foreign soldiers, and the Methodist 
Episcopal Mission, which is being defended by 
American troops. 

Juue \"]th. — Again I was too tired to write my 
journal last night. About n a.m. a huge fire 
broke out just outside the Ch'ien Men, which is 
the great South gate of the Tartar city, and we 
heard that the Boxers had set fire to some of 
the large stores where foreign drugs were sold. 
Is it not senseless folly? The fire simply raged, 
and spread most rapidly, for everything is as dry 
as tinder. We could see the smoke and flame 
plainly from our windows, and as the day wore 
on it grew more and more awful, and the smoke 
began to envelop one of the great towers of 
the gate. About 4 p.m. it caught, and then 
indeed there was a great conflagration. The 
massive Chinese roof is partly supported on huge 
wooden pillars, and the flames leapt up these 
and then rushed into the building, and it seemed 


simply clothed in fire. It was a wonderful sight, 
not only as a spectacle, but for the thought that 
here was a mob of ruffians, butchering, pillaging, 
burning, even to the Emperor's own special gate 
of the capital of the kingdom, and not a finger 
raised to suppress them except by our foreign 
soldiers, who try to keep them out of the lines 
of defence at least. 

The danger of spreading fires is of course great, 
and the watch kept is very vigilant, and houses 
would be pulled down at any real alarm : some 
have been pulled down already for precaution. 
A raid was made yesterday by some of our men 
into a temple near, where they heard there were 
Boxers, and caught them red-handed, with 
Christians tied up round the walls, whom they 
were slaughtering with their huge knives and 
spears. Our men simply guarded every entrance, 
and shot them down to the last man. There 
was a good deal of firing in the night from the 
Russian lines, but I don't quite know why. We 
had the comfort of a Celebration this morning, 
but only two people besides ourselves availed 
themselves of it. 


Provisions are getting very dear and difficult 
to get, and the Boxers question all buyers as to 
the use to which they are to be put, in order to 
find out those who buy for foreigners. Happily, 
we have plenty of flour and tinned things. 

At one o'clock the alarm sounded, and our 
rooms were immediately filled with soldiers, and 
there was a lot of firing in the Austrian lines. 
It seems that Tung Fu Hsiang's Chinese cavalry 
are now beginning to threaten us. And where 
are our soldiers ? It is a week to-day since they 
started from Tientsin, and if only they had got 
here three days ago, what harm might have been 
spared ! We have nothing amongst us except 
what is in this little room, and a few little odd- 
ments in the places where we sleep. But that 
is nothing in comparison to precious lives lost. 

June \%th. — No news of the troops yet. But 
bad news from Tientsin by a courier who managed 
to get in this morning, and says that the Boxers 
have burnt down the beautiful Roman Catholic 
cathedral there, the same which was burnt in the 
massacre of 1868 or 1870, I forget which date, and 


had only just been rebuilt. Couriers from here 
have failed to get into the Settlement at Tientsin, 
which they report to be surrounded by Boxer 
camps ; and, strangest of all, they say that nothing 
is known at Tientsin of our troops. We thought 
their tardy arrival was accounted for by their 
being obliged to keep open communications with 
Tientsin, but this does not seem to be the case. 
Four of the Tsungli Yarnen came to see Sir 
Claude to-day, but I do not know what they 
said ; probably asked, as they did a week ago, 
why in the world we are all assembled here, as 
the city is perfectly quiet ! The situation becomes 
daily more critical. About 3.30 rain began to 
fall, and it poured heavily till far into the night 
{June igtk). It has made everything so fresh 
and cool, and will make incendiarism more diffi- 
cult. We hear alarming rumours from Tientsin, 
but nothing very definite. 

6 p.m. — I have just come in from an expedition 
on to the wall to see the remains of the Ch'ien 
Men and the devastation outside it. Mr. Allen 
took Miss Lambert and me. In spite of yester- 
day's heavy rain, the ruins are still smoking in 


many places, and the destruction is terrible — acres 
of shops and houses levelled with the ground, or 
mere shells left standing. We were much excited 
by seeing four men, whom we took to be Boxers, 
got up in red turbans, etc. They were down 
below us in the street, and stared hard at us, but 
disappeared into the crowd. We saw two fires 
to the north-west of the city, within the walls, 
but could not tell what they were. Now they 
tell me there is a great fire to the east, which 
it is feared may be the American Methodist 

ii p.m. — This afternoon at four o'clock the 
Chinese Government declared that the action of 
the Nationalities at Taku and elsewhere consti- 
tutes war, and that we must all clear out in 
twenty-four hours or take the consequences. 
China against Europe, America, and Japan — 
absurd, of course, in] the long run ; but now we 
are in a very awkward predicament with our 
small handful of troops. A despatch has been 
returned to the effect that we cannot evacuate 
the place without proper transport and escort 
provided, and we await the answer; but Sir 


Claude Macdonald has just told me that in his 
opinion we must stay here, and sink or swim with 
the ship, and hope for reinforcements — but where 
are they ? 

June 20th. — Soon after breakfast this morning 
we were all electrified by the terrible news that 
Baron von Ketteler, the German Minister, had 
been shot dead on his way to the Yamen, and 
his secretary badly wounded. It was rash of 
them to go, seeing how untrustworthy the Chinese 
are ; but who would have thought that the 
Minister would be shot? Orders were immedi- 
ately issued for all foreigners to come into the 
British Legation ; and almost at once a stream of 
carts began to come in, bringing people and pro- 
visions. It has been a most extraordinary sight, 
and one unparalleled in the histoiy of the world, 
I should suppose. Eleven nations combining for 
mutual defence against a semi-barbarous foe, who 
yet boasts of a civilization which began ages 
before the names of Europe or America were 
heard of ! 

How many people there are here to-night I 


66 the siege hospital in pekin<5. 

should be afraid to say ; every available corner is 
full, and many out of doors or in tents. The 
church is given up to the women and children 
of the American Missions, who are encamped all 
over the floor, in the vestries, on the altar steps, 
in the sanctuary even, for there is no other space. 
One house is given up to the American Legation, 
another to the Russians, another to the French, 
and so on, and the proper inhabitants are either 
squeezing into the chief's house, or sleeping on 
verandahs or other available niches. All the long 
afternoon a doleful company of poor French 
Sisters were sitting out of doors, as no place could 
be found for them. They had fled away in the 
night before their house was burnt, and they had 
not a single thing, literally nothing, and they were 
as helpless as little children. At last one of the 
ladies from the French Legation managed to stuff 
them in somewhere. The Norwegians have got 
our room, and Mrs. C. has most kindly given us 
her dining-room, where we three women camp out 
quite luxuriously ; and Mr. Allen and Mr. Norris 
sleep in a verandah. The Japanese settlement is 
most interesting, the dear little babies looking 


so exactly like Japanese dolls that one no longer 
can think the toys unlike living children. All the 
shops round have been cleared into the Legation, 
and a flock of sheep and some cows have also 
been brought in, and there are lots of ponies, so 
we shall not starve. 

We were anxious to see what would happen at 
four o'clock, when the twenty-four hours given us 
to clear out should be up. The Yamen had sent 
an answer to the Ministers' despatch, saying that 
they appreciated its friendly tone, and that they 
were afraid the country just now was not quite in 
a state to make travelling pleasant for women and 
children ! 

Just at five minutes to four by our time we 
heard firing begin at the Austrian lines, and it 
continued pretty sharply at intervals all round 
till about nine. The bullets whizzed about gaily. 
I never before have been under fire, nor under- 
stood what the "whistle" of a bullet meant, but 
I do now. I was obliged to go across the com- 
pound to find a place, for Miss Hung and the 
children to sleep, and I was just coming out of 
a house when a bullet struck a pillar of the 


verandah in front of me. We hear rumours of 
difficulties in Tientsin which make us anxious, 
but we are absolutely without any real communi- 
cation, and as much cut off from the rest of the 
world as if we were in the Sahara. Of the 
Admiral and his relief force we know nothing 

All the men have been working like niggers 
to-day ; throwing up earthworks, digging trenches, 
filling sand-bags, etc. The other nations are going 
to hold their Legations as long as they can, but 
are all prepared to retire on this one at a moment's 
notice without impedimenta of any kind, as the 
women and children and stores are all here. 

June 2\st. — Firing began again just at 6 a.m- 
and continued off and on all the morning; the 
afternoon was almost quiet, but at 4 p.m. it began 
again very sharply from all sides as it seemed. 
The men on our roof had a hot time with a party 
of Boxers, who were dodging among the trees in 
the Imperial -carriage park just over the wall, and 
the noise was so great we could. hardly hear our- 
selves speak at times. The whole compound 


indeed was pretty dangerous for some hours, with 
the bullets whizzing and singing past overhead. 
All not otherwise employed have been busy 
making bags to be filled with sand, as a protection 
to the soldiers on the roofs and walls. The men 
have all been working tremendously hard at barri- 
cades, etc., and also at pulling down houses out- 
side the Legation. They have been busy felling 
trees, too, and transporting provisions, besides 
taking their turn on guard to relieve the poor 
marines. The doctors have been getting a hospital 
ready this afternoon, and already have two 
wounded men in it. Miss Lambert is matron, 
and I and one or two others are to be pressed 
into the service. We had sadly to part with Miss 
Hung and our two little orphans this morning. 
It seemed best that they should be placed in 
a large house along with a great many other 
refugee girls and women, and so we sent them ; 
but it was hard for us all, as we cannot go to see 
them. The house is the other side of a lane in 
the constant line of fire, which we are not allowed 
to cross. 
There are all sorts of vague rumours about 


our troops, but nothing certain. We are very 
anxious about Tientsin. We have had no news 
from the outer world for nearly a week. 

June 2$rd, 6 a.m. — Too tired to write last night. 
Yesterday morning I was put on as ambulance 
nurse for seven hours' duty each day. There are 
five other nurses, and two of us at a time are on 
duty during the day and one at night. Miss 
Lambert is at the head of us. The Government 
offices have been fitted up as a hospital, and up 
to last night our casualties were two killed and 
seven wounded, and one case of typhoid. One of 
the killed and the typhoid are English ; the others 
are Russians, Germans, and Austrians. 

There seems to be a division among the Chinese 
soldiers — Prince Ch'ing's are apparently friendly 
on our east, while Tung Fu Hsiang is attacking 
us furiously from the west. He has a cannon up 
on the wall, and fired on us for some time yester- 
day morning, but without effect. The afternoon 
was pretty quiet till about 4.30, when there was 
an alarm of fire, and it was found that a Chinese 
house had been set on fire Just outside the 


Legation, close to Mr. Cockburn's house, where we 
are staying. As the storeroom was at the corner, 
we were told to clear out all our stores. Houses 
and walls were pulled down and water brought, 
and after an hour or two the fire was more or less 
under control, and the danger of its spreading in 
this direction seemed over. Meanwhile, however, 
great destruction had been wrought on this house 
by parties of would-be friends, who tore in, and in 
their panic simply cleared the house of everything, 
recklessly tearing down pictures and hangings and 
carrying all bodily out into the compound, while 
another army began to tear down the kitchen 
quarters. It was hopeless confusion, We were 
hours getting things back, and much was broken 
and lost. At last, about 8.30, we sat down to a 
dinner of ham and some bread, begged from 
various friends, and enjoyed it most thoroughly. 
We have not had much sleep ; firing has been 
going on nearly the whole night, and early this 
morning it has been very sharp, the bullets 
singing past this window, but it is a little quieter 

Mr. Norris got his head hurt yesterday in 


pulling down a house. He was working with a 
Russian who understood no English, so that his 
warning was unheeded, and the axe fell on his 
head. The wound might have been serious, but 
turned out to be nothing of consequence. 

June 24th, Sunday.^Too tired out. I must 
wait till to-morrow. 

» JW-e 2$t/z. — I must try to tell something of the 
events of the last two days. Personally, I have 
been very busy tending the wounded, of whom 
there are many new ones now every day, and the 
hospital is getting very full, the number of nation- 
alities among the patients being truly confusing. 
Captain Halliday was shot yesterday, I grieve to 
say, I fear rather badly, and he can ill be spared 
from our small garrison. 

Saturday morning, soon after breakfast, there 
was an alarm of fire, and it was discovered that 
the Chinese had set fire to the Han Lin, their 
great examination hall and library at the north of 
our Legation, and not far from the chiefs house. 
There was a tremendous struggle to get it under, 


and for a long time things were very critical. The 
work was rendered additionally dangerous by the 
fact that the Chinese got behind the fire, which 
was being blown towards the Legation by a strong 
wind, and fired through at our men. By dint of 
water, and pulling down of houses, however, they 
did manage it at last, and were greatly helped by 
a sudden change in the wind. 

There was furious fighting on the City Wall 

during the day ; the Americans were holding it, 

and tried to advance to the Ch'ien M6n and take 

the cannon which Tung Fu Hsiang had posted 

there, but failed. The night between Saturday 

and Sunday was one of incessant tumult ; the 

Chinese took to sending bombs, and one burst in 

the room where two English people were sleeping. 

The whole force of the compound was turned on 

to making sand-bags to strengthen our position, 

weakened in many places by fire. In the middle 

of the morning the fire alarm again rang furiously. 

This time they were trying to burn us from the 

south, and again it was with the greatest difficulty 

that the fire was got under. It was close to the. 

hospital, and we had made all our plans for taking 


the sick out on to the tennis court. They almost 
got in at one moment, but were beaten back, and 
a tremendous barricade of sand-bags, boxes of 
earth, and stones put up. We were all pretty 
worn out by evening, and it was very difficult to 
believe that it was Sunday ; we had been able to 
manage no service all day. There was a report 
that heavy guns had been heard in the distance, 
and the soldiers on the wall saw two white star 
rockets, which made us hope relief might be at 
hand ; but we have heard nothing, and this is the 
sixteenth day since troops left Tientsin. 

Provisions are getting scarce, at least fresh ones 
are. We have had no fresh meat for several days, 
but to-night are looking forward to some stewed 
mule, as several were shot last night. There was 
a most furious fusillade about one o'clock this 
morning, and the firing all day has been incessant 
One man was badly shot in the compound yester- 
day. We all keep well, though very tired ; but of 
course we know the situation is desperate — that is, 
we must hold out or all be massacred. I wonder 
why one should dread the latter. I don't think I 
really do much ; but one has a natural instinct foy 


self-preservation. We do so long for some news 
of the outer world, and fear much for Tientsin and 
the places inland. 

jftine 26th, 10 p.m. — Yesterday great excite- 
ment was produced by a white placard which was 
put up on the bridge outside one of our barricades 
stating that an Imperial edict had been issued 
forbidding the Chinese troops to fire on us any 
more, and requesting us not to fire on them. It 
also said that a communication was waiting for us 
if we would send for it. At the same time the 
firing, which had been going on, entirely ceased. 
What it all meant we did not know, but no one 
felt inclined to put much faith in it. No foreigner 
was allowed to go with a reply, but a Christian 
Chinese undertook the venture, and ran to the 
bridge with a placard setting forth that we were 
prepared to receive a message. None came, but 
the peace and silence of the evening were lovely, 
and we all went to bed hoping for at least one 
night's peace. Exactly at midnight, however, 
there began a furious cannonade from several 
quarters at once. The noise was terrific, and we 


all got up and dressed, expecting anything to 
happen at any moment. It went on for an hour 
or more, and then gradually ceased, and the enemy 
drew off, and we went back to bed. 

This morning there was some very sharp fighting 
on the wall, but the afternoon has been ominously 
quiet till just now, and I dread what it may bring. 
We all _ had a very good supper, however, of 
stewed pony, and feel more fortified to bear 

June 2Jtk. — We had a terrible night of canno- 
nading and rifle firing ; the compound simply 
seemed to be alive with bullets singing all round 
us. Two came into one of the windows of this 
house, one of which went right through the mos- 
quito curtains of the bed, but fortunately the 
occupants were both lying down. Our fortifi- 
cations are now so good, and our soldiers so well 
protected with sand-bags, etc., that the only 
casualty was one Austrian killed. All hands are 
now busy making a bomb-proof shelter, into which 
we may creep it there is a determined assault 
with bomb-shells. 


It has been reported both last night and this 
morning that Tung fu Hsiang's soldiers have been 
withdrawn, but, if so, there seems to be a large 
number of what we call " the enemy " left, for the 
firing has been incessant all morning. It gets on 
one's nerves badly sometimes ; not that one feels 
frightened ; but the noise and whizz of the bullets 
get on one's brain, and one longs to say : " Oh, 
do stop — just for one hour's peace ! " I have just 
been up to Lady Macdonald's to take her five eggs 
and beg for a little curry powder in exchange. 
There are hardly any eggs left just now, and Sir 
Claude is laid up with an attack of dysentery. 
On my way I found our first Secretary washing 
out his own socks, and everybody is simply doing 
anything and everything for themselves and other 

We were able to have the great comfort of a 
Celebration early this morning in Mr. C.'s study, 
where we dine now. 

June 2%th.— Another terrible night of firing. 
Yesterday the attack had been almost incessant; 
but in the evening things quieted down a bit, and 


we went to bed early, thinking to rest while we 
could ; but we had been there only a bare half- 
hour when a furious attack began from every side ; 
the chapel bell rang the alarm, and we hurried 
into our clothes again. It went on for an hour or 
two and then gradually subsided, and in spite of 
the hail of bullets I don't think we had one 
casualty. Compared with the enemy's dead and 
wounded, our losses have been slight ; but we have 
had over forty casualties, of which ten are deaths — 
a large number for our tiny force. The health of 
the troops and the civilians is very good on the 
Whole, however. The hospital is very well planned 
and arranged. It is under the care of our own 
Legation doctor, Dr. Poole, and the German 
Legation doctor, Dr. Velde. Miss Lambert is 
matron, and the lady doctors and trained nurses 
among us take the nursing in turns, so many 
hours each day. The kitchen is managed by two 
ladies of the American Mission, who do it 

The work of fortification still goes on, and 
every man, woman, and child is pressed into 
the service. All exposed places are defended by 


piles of sand-bags, and on almost every roof 
defences of these are piled, so that the sentries 
inside may be under cover. There are several 
bomb-proof shelters made ; but, so far, the enemy 
have not been able to touch any but the upper 
storeys with bombs. If, however, they can force 
the Americans from their post on the wall, they 
would simply command this compound, and 
would fire bombs into it as hard as they liked. 
There is a rumour that a man has managed to 
get here from Tientsin, who reports that the 
foreign troops left there in three divisions on 
Sunday, and, if so, we may hope for relief on 
Saturday, and this is mid-day Thursday. We 
cannot at all tell, however, what his information 
is worth, as he is not an accredited messenger, 
only a man who has made his way up to find 
how his Christian relations here are faring. 
Every day we hear rumours of rockets having 
been seen, or big guns having been heard in the 
distance, till we believe in none of them, and 
so are not so often disappointed. A big fire 
has just broken out south of us. 


June 2§tk, 1 1 p.m. — There was an awful attack 
yesterday evening. It began about 6. p.m. and 
went on till about 8.30. The enemy had a 
big gun about three hundred yards from our 
stable quarters, which are quite close to the 
hospital, and they fired bomb-shells at us as hard 
as they could go, besides a fusillade from all 
sides. They hit the roof of the stables many 
times, and sent tiles flying about in all directions. 
A horse was killed just in front of the verandah, 
and pieces of shells came into two of the wards. 
We could hardly hear ourselves speak, and the 
noise somehow seems to get on to my brain, so 
that even when it has ceased I still fancy I hear 
it. It is curious how used we get to going about 
with bullets whizzing about our heads ; but I 
confess I do not like bomb-shells, there is some- 
thing so " skeary " about them, and the noise 
and flash are so bewildering. 

We hoped that after things had settled down 
a bit they were going to let us have a peaceful 
night ; but it was anything but that, and about 
3.30 a.m. there was a great fusillade again. It 
had been arranged for a party of English and 


Germans to make a sortie at 3 a.m. to try and 
capture the Chinese cannon, and they were to 
be followed by a party to burn some houses 
which are all loop-holed, and command us. 
By some blunder, however, the firing-party reached 
the place first, and lighted up before the soldiers 
arrived, which spoilt the whole plan ; and all the 
men could do was to escape back with their 
lives, which happily they did. 

Later on in the morning the attack was chiefly 
against the French and German Legations, and 
the French had a good many casualties and a 
lieutenant killed. The enemy also succeeded in 
setting fire to one of the buildings in Su Wang 
Fu, where the refugee Chinese are, but happily 
it was got under. 

The man from Tientsin seems to be genuine, 
and he reports that all the way along people 
were aware of our situation, which comforts us 
somewhat, as we feared our friends might not 
be realizing the desperateness of our situation. 
Over fifty of our men are now disabled or killed, 
and I dare not ask about ammunition. 

This afternoon was quieter on the whole, though 



the enemy was pouring in bullets from the north, 
and two came into this house. One of our 
marines, Phillips, was killed about a hundred 
yards off while resting on a bench. The attack 
began again about 6 p.m., but there were no big 
guns. The Chinese had three, but one was re- 
ported to have burst this morning. 

About 10 p.m. there was a very determined 
attack, which has continued ever since, in spite 
of heavy thunder and rain, and I am writing 
instead of going to bed, as it is far too noisy 
to sleep. Oh, that we could hear the boom of 
our own guns in the distance ! I feel now that 
I cannot look for them till they are actually in 
the compound, and what a relief that would be ! 
We all keep well, though the odour is becoming 
dreadful at times from the dead Chinese and 
horses outside. The condition of the city must 
be truly appalling. 

Midnight. — Mr. Allen has just come off guard, 
and says that the sentries report having seen 
a search-light to the south of the city, which 
they hope may be from our troops. The fusillade 
all round us is perfectly deafening. 


June 10th, 2 p.m. — The fusillade went on 
furiously all night till long after daylight, and 
we got very little sleep. 

This morning the enemy have been shelling 
our troops on the wall from a big gun inside 
the Imperial Palace. The poor Germans have 
suffered badly — two killed, and three badly 
wounded, and two of our men wounded too ; 
over sixty casualties now, and the hospital very 
full. We are as busy as we can be, which is a 
good thing for us in many ways. Indeed, every- 
body in the Legation has plenty to do, what 
with digging trenches and bomb-proof shelters, 
making sand-bags, erecting barricades, making 
sheets, shirts, etc., for the wounded, besides all 
the washing and cooking which falls to the lot 
of many. 

No news of our troops yet ; but there is a 
rumour that the Taku forts were taken ten days 
ago, and, if it is true, they must surely be near 
at hand. Our ammunition is not over-abundant, 
I believe, but I dare not ask particulars. 

Miss Lambert is not well, and off work to-day, 
which makes me a bit extra busy. 


July 2nd, Monday. — Yesterday I never got a 
minute to write my diary. The day began 
peacefully with a quiet Celebration in the dining- 
room at a quarter to seven, and I felt so thankful 
for it all day through, for it was a most trying 
time. In the first place there was some blunder 
among the Germans on the wall, and they 
evacuated their position there ; and then the 
Americans, who have their barricades a little 
west, also on the wall, seeing that the Germans 
had gone, went down too, as it had been agreed. 
Of course, the loss of the wall would be most 
fatal to us, as if the Chinese plant their big 
cannon there, they can simply knock the place 
into ruins with bomb-shells. As soon as the 
blunder was discovered, the Yankees most pluckily 
retook their position, and are holding it, but at 
a fearful cost, and the Germans cannot get 
theirs back. 

The Germans have suffered dreadfully in killed 
and wounded, and there were some terrible cases 
of wounds from bomb-shells in the morning. 

In the afternoon another dreadful blunder was 
made. The Japanese colonel, who is a very able 


man, said he could take the biggest Chinese 
gun, if he had enough men given him. So a 
number of Italians under an officer, and a number 
of English marines and volunteers were told off, 
and the three parties were to approach the gun 
from different directions, so as to catch the 
Chinese in a trap. No doubt it would have 
been quite successful, but for some fatal mis- 
understanding, perhaps due to difference of 
language. As it was, our party turned up the 
wrong lane, and found themselves in a cul-de- 
sac loop-holed by the Chinese. Fortunately, the 
lane was not perfectly straight, and the Chinese 
not good shots, or not a man would have come 
back alive ; as it is, we have seven wounded. 
Our casualties are now eighty, and we had not 
a man to spare to begin with. We have thirty- 
seven in hospital, and are very busy. 

Last night was comparatively quiet, but they 
are shelling again this morning, and the shell 
wounds are often so awful that I dread the 
sound of their big gun, and it is booming now 
as I write. There was a report of a search-light 
having been seen again last night, but I confess 


I am sceptical ; I want to see the troops coming 
into the compound. 

Jtily %rd. — There was a fierce but short attack 
on the compound last night, between i and 
3 a.m., but nothing was done, and no one was 
hurt. About 2 a.m. a party of Americans, British, 
and a few Russians, made a furious charge for 
the Chinese barricade on the wall. Rain was 
pouring in torrents, and the enemy were unpre- 
pared, so our men drove them right out, killed 
a considerable number, and' seized their rifles 
and ammunition. Unfortunately, the American 
officer, Captain Myers, who was leading them, 
was wounded, or they think they might have 
got on as far as the Ch'ien Men, and seized 
the big gun. We lost two Americans, and had 
several of our men wounded. The rest of the 
day has been ominously quiet, and we wonder 
what mischief the enemy are planning. But the 
rest to our nerves has been a great boon, and 
we feel more able to meet whatever may come. 

Still no sign of relief at hand, and this heavy 
rain will have made the roads very bad. A 


messenger was let down over the wall in the 
night. Sometimes we are inclined to wonder if 
the greatness of our straits has been realized 
by those who are coming to help us ; or if the 
various nationalities have fallen out by the way, 
and are settling their own differences while we 
are left to do as best we may. I do not know 
how many ponies there are left to be eaten, but 
I hope they will hold out long enough. The 
meat is really excellent, a little dark-coloured, 
but tender if carefully cooked, and of very good 

July \th. — We had a dreadful night, one cease- 
less fusillade till about 3.30 a.m. The noise was 
terrible, one could not hear one's self speak ; 
but no harm was done beyond the trial to our 
nerves. The day has been quite quiet, only some 
attempt at shelling the Fu, and we had but one 
casualty, an Italian, who died almost at once. 

July $tk. — A beautifully quiet night, only two 
short attacks ; and not much has been done 
during the day. But one very sad event has cast 


a gloom over us all. Mr. David Oliphant, one 
of the Consular assistants here, was shot while 
cutting down some trees which afforded cover for 
the enemy, and died within two hours. He was 
a very promising man, and a great favourite with 
every one here, and we could ill spare him. This 
afternoon Dr. Gilbert Reid was shot in the leg, 
and this brings our casualties to eighty-nine. 

Mr. Allen has now come to help us in the 
hospital, where we have forty-four patients. It is 
the funniest babel of tongues imaginable — 
Russian, Austrian, Italian, French, German, 
English, Yankee, and Japanese! We try to 
sort the nationalities a little, so as to keep each 
other company, but they all get on very har- 
moniously. Still no sign or word of relief, and 
it seems impossible to get a message to Tientsin, 
and meanwhile so many lives lost, and our little 
force smaller day by day. It is just a month now 
since we came into the Legation. 

July 6ih. — Heavy fighting in the Fu this 
morning. One Japanese officer killed, and £wo 
men wounded. I like the Jap soldiers very much ; 

The siege hospital in Peking. 89 

they are such cheery, bright fellows, and so brave 
under suffering. The fighting this morning was 
an attempt on their part to get possession of a 
Chinese gun, which has been shelling the Fu for 
some days. They did not succeed in capturing 
the gun, but drove back the. Chinese, and have 
taken a position commanding the approach to it, 
by which they hope to prevent the Chinese from 
returning to it. 

July yth. — Some sharp attacks in the night, 
and this morning it was found that the Chinese 
had built a barricade, which has enabled them 
to return to the gun commanding the Fu, which 
they have been firing. They have also been firing 
a big gun from the north, and one ball went right 
through Sir Claude's dining-room, passing behind 
the great picture of the Queen without injuring it ! 

This afternoon the American and English 
armourers are busy trying to construct a gun out 
of brass piping, and making shells for it to fire. 
I only hope it will not injure the firers of it, but 
certainly we need something to reply to this 
dreadful cannonade. 


No news whatever of our troops. We have 
tried all sorts of plans to get a message through. 
One man had a tiny letter sewn within the sole 
of his boot. Another, dressed as a blind beggar, 
and led by a little boy, had a message inside a 
loaf of bread, but no answer comes. There have 
been several rumours of people having heard 
distant cannon, but I put little faith in them now. 
Fortunately, the health of the community is 
wonderfully good on the whole, and we are all 
too busy to be melancholy. Indeed, it is quite 
wonderful how quickly the days go past, and I 
can hardly believe that to-morrow is Sunday 
again — our fifth here. 

July Btk, Sunday. — We had a very bad night, 
both of fusillade and shelling ; the church and the 
big T'ing erh both struck by bombs. 

Mr. Allen celebrated in the dining-room here 
at 6.4S, and Mr. Norris, at the chiefs, at 9 a.m. 

The morning was comparatively quiet, but in 
the afternoon there was a great attack on the Fu, 
and one of the big buildings was set on fire, but, 
fortunately, the Christians had been removed. 


In ransacking a Chinese shop within the lines 
our people lit on a cannon, which had evidently 
been bought up as old iron. They thought at 
first it was Chinese, but it turns out to be English 
make, and they think it may be one of those we 
brought up in i860. The engineers made a 
carriage for it, and this afternoon they fired 
some Russian bombs from it three or four times. 
It seems to have only had the effect, however, of 
stirring up the enemy, for they have been shelling 
us vigorously ; one shell hit the house, and 
another burst close to the hospital. 

We have had to move into the drawing-room, 
which is considered a shade safer than our old 
quarters, but I don't think there is much to 
choose. They are now preparing to run the 
Italian gun up on to the roof of this house, in 
order to knock down a barricade. Still no news 
from outside ; it is weary waiting. 

July nth. — I have written no diary for three 
days, and it is difficult to make up when time has 
passed. Nothing of very great note has happened. 
I had a narrow escape the other day, going to 


the hospital, of being struck by a piece of shell 
which fell within about two yards of me, and 
which I picked up, still quite hot ; also a large 
cannon ball came into Mr. C's bedroom window, 
but, fortunately, no one was in the room ; we 
heard the crash, and ran in to see. 

Bullets have also come in once or twice, and 
they simply whizz about the compound. It is 
truly wonderful how few have been injured by 

For some cause or other the attacks were rather 
less vigorous on Monday and Tuesday, and we 
had no. fresh wounded, but to-day we have five, 
by way of making up, one of whom is dying, 
poor fellow! He is a German Lutheran, and 
Mr. Allen has just administered the last Sacra- 
ment to him at his own desire. Another, who 
died of tetanus on Monday, also desired and 
received it. 

We have absolutely no news yet, but all sorts 
of vague rumours ; the two last being that M. de 
Giers, the Russian Minister, expects his relief 
force at 11.30 to-morrow, so accurate is the 
rumour! The second is that Prince Ch'ing and 


Prince Tuan are fighting, and that the former is 
now outside the city, keeping the gates to admit 
the foreign troops. Meanwhile our numbers 
gradually thin. The poor Japs have lost very 
heavily. They are splendidly plucky little fellows. 
Those we have in hospital here bear terrible pain 
without a murmur — are always contented, and 
full of fun and brightness. Their ward is quite 
a pleasure to visit. 

The Japs have a rumour to-day that 13,000 
troops left Tientsin four days ago. If that is so, 
we have at least ten days to wait yet, and shall 
be pretty well reduced to horse, rice, bread and 
tea ; quite good, wholesome fare, however ! 

July I'jth, Tuesday. — Again many days left 
unwritten, so I must just give a brief record of 
the chief events. 

July \2th. — The French took a prisoner, who 
was strictly examined, and who said that the 
foreign settlement in Tientsin was burnt on the 
17th of June, and that Taku forts were taken 
four days ago. He is also said to have stated that 
the Empress has issued an edict, recommending 


the soldiers not to fire the big guns, as it was 
a dangerous practice, and liable to do mischief to 
her loyal people. It certainly is true that the 
Chinese must have done a great deal of mischief 
among their own friends, but, edict or no, there 
has been no perceptible diminution in their use 
of heavy artillery. 

On the night of July 12th there was a tre- 
mendous fusillade on the Jap position in the Fu, 
and the Italians ran away, and left the British 
barricade isolated and undefended, to the great 
disgust of our men. The Japs are simply 
splendid, and fill every one with admiration. 

July 15th. — Fairly quiet till 6 p.m., when the 
Chinese made a most determined attack on the 
French Legation. They had mined one of 
the houses, and had blown it up, and soon the 
whole place was in a blaze. The fire burnt all 
night, but in spite of it, the French succeeded in 
holding their position. The attack went on 
furiously till eight; the alarm was rung, and 
every one was on the alert. The noise was 
so deafening that we had difficulty in making 


ourselves heard. Mr. Norris, who had been working 
at a barricade in the Fu, was struck in the neck 
by a piece of shell, but the wound was happily 
only slight. The Fu, and the way to it, even 
though partially underground now, is very 
dangerous. The Chinese have taken one of our 
barricades, and Mr. Allen, who was working there 
all night, said they were so close that he could 
distinctly hear their building going on. 

July 14th, Saturday, — A messenger of ours 
was seized by the enemy, beaten, and then sent 
back to the Legation with a letter, purporting to 
come from the Tsungli Yamen, inviting the 
Ministers, with their families and staffs, to take 
refuge in the Yamen. They were to go in 
detachments, and were promised a safe escort, 
but were not to be accompanied by one single 
foreign soldier, for fear of " exciting the populace." 
The Chinese idea of our intelligence must indeed 
be small ! 

July i$th, Sunday. — Sunday was very fairly 
quiet, but the afternoon was saddened by the 


death of Mr.. H. Warren, one of the Legation 
students. He was terribly wounded by a shell, 
and died after a few hours. The loss of this poor 
boy seems even more sad than that of the soldiers, 
whose profession it is to fight ; and one grieves 
for those who will mourn at home. At night 
there was heavy firing on the Fu. 

July 16th, Monday. — I reached the hospital at 
8 p.m., just as our commander, Captain Strouts, 
and Dr. Morrison, the Times correspondent, were 
brought in wounded, from the Fu. The latter's 
was only a slight flesh wound, but Captain 
Strouts was badly hit in the thigh. The doctors 
did everything possible, and then we got him 
into bed, and tried everything to keep him, but 
he never recovered the shock, and passed away 
about 10.30. His death cast a great gloom over 
everything, and the times do indeed seem dark. 
For, besides the personal regret which many feel 
for -him, we can ill spare him as a leader. The 
chief command of the British force will now fall 
on Captain Wray, but of course Sir Claude is 
Commander-in-Chief. In the evening another 


communication was received from the enemy, 
again purporting to come from Prince Ch'ing, 
and others, and expressing surprise that after 
their last letter we still continued firing ; but as 
they still continue shelling us, and are building 
their barricades higher than ever, I do not know 
what they expect. 

July iyth, Tuesday. — This has been a day of 
rumours and excitements of various kinds. About 
10 a.m. a Chinese soldier, unarmed, arrived at 
the German Legation, and said he wanted to 
hold communication with us, so he was put in a 
cart and driven through the lines into our Lega- 
tion. About the same time another arrived, I 
think at the French lines, bearing a letter pur- 
porting to come from Jung Lu, and saying they 
would stop firing if we would. An answer was 
sent to the effect that we had no desire to con- 
tinue firing except in self-defence, but as long 
as they continued to heighten and strengthen 
their barricades, we should be compelled to hinder 
them by firing on them. 

The messengers were interrogated about current 



events, and say the Chinese have been badly 
beaten between Taku and Tientsin, that General 
Nieh has committed suicide, and that we are 
holding the Taku forts. One of them also 
said that many of the soldiers are getting tired 
of attacking us, and are deserting. Let us 
hope his tale is true ! Things do seem looking 
a little more hopeful, but I have such a pro- 
found distrust of the enemy that I always 
suspect some deep design under every approach. 
Another incident of the day has been that a 
young French student, called Pelliot, jumped 
over the Chinese barricade at the invitation of 
the soldiers, and went away with them. The 
action was entirely against his officer's orders, 
but the French here are not famous for discipline. 
We were, of course, very anxious as to his fate, 
and not greatly reassured by a note which arrived 
about noon, written in Chinese, but signed by 
him in Roman characters, and stating that he 
was at the Yamen, being treated well, and having 
vegetables to eat, and that he would be back to 
dinner. It was therefore a great relief when he 
actually did turn up. He said he had been 


much interrogated as to the state of affairs here, 
and had apparently represented us all as per- 
fectly happy and contented, with lots to eat and 
drink, our only lack being fruit and vegetables ! 

The consensus of opinion seems to be that the 
Chinese here must be aware of the approach of 
foreign troops, and are inclined to make advances 
in order to gain what favour they may. 

The poor little children among us are suffering 
most — no milk or eggs for them, and no fresh 
vegetables. Three little ones have died, and all 
look like faded flowers ; the city is so hot and 
unwholesome in July at the best of times, and 
now the Legation is packed to overflowing. 
Happily, the weather is more moderate than 

To-morrow I am going to take a day's rest, 
and Lady Macdonald has kindly asked me to 
go there and lie under a mosquito-net on a bed, 
which will be a treat after a month of sleeping 
on a table! 

July i&th. — Such a beautiful, quiet night and 
day, the peace seems almost uncanny. I have 


spent most of the day in sleep, as I intended, 
and feel much better for it. There is exciting 
news. The Japs have got a message from Tient- 
sin, saying that the Chinese have been twice 
defeated between Tientsin and Taku, that three 
of their generals have committed suicide, that 
the Taku forts and Tientsin are in our hands, 
and that a great body of foreign troops is to 
start on the 20th for Peking, and expect no 
opposition. It is a long time to wait yet, but 
everything to have really reliable news of some 

We wonder much where our bishop and Mrs. 
Scott and the rest are. A Chinese official has 
also been to see Sir Claude, presumably with the 
idea of making overtures, and arrangements are 
being made for getting people to come to the 
lines to sell us vegetables, fruit, etc. 

July loth. — There is a long hiatus here, because 
on the day I last wrote Mr. Allen began to be 
sick with what proved to be a bad attack of 
tonsilitis ; and what with nursing him and other 
things, I found it quite impossible to get my 


diary written. Well, here we are still, nearly at 
the end of our sixth week of siege, and still 
hoping for the relief that does not come. Rumours 
have not been lacking — sometimes reporting that 
our troops are within twenty miles — sometimes 
that they have not yet left Tientsin, with all the 
varied stages between those two extremes, which 
make our spirits rise and fall alternately. One 
piece of really reliable information we have re- 
ceived in the shape of a letter from Mr. Carles, 
our Consul in Tientsin. It was brought by a little 
lad of fourteen, who had succeeded in carrying a 
letter from Sir Claude to Tientsin, telling of our 
straits here. He left here on July 4th, and got 
back with his answer on July 25th. The words 
were necessarily few, as the scrap of paper had 
to be concealed, but the most important informa- 
tion was that Tientsin is safe, and that a large 
body of troops under General Gaselee is coming 
to our relief; nothing definite as to when. 

Meanwhile we have had a little more com- 
munication with the outside world here, in the 
shape of Chinese informers, who have brought us 
reports of things outside, which we may believe 


or not, as we like. These men tell us that the 
Empress has carts ready to flee to Hsi An Fu, in 
event of the approach of foreign troops ; that 
the Russians are approaching from the north J 
that Li Hung Chang is trying to negotiate peace ; 
that the soldiers are now fighting with the 
Boxers, etc., etc. 

The most important thing is that we have 
been able to buy all the back numbers of the 
Peking Gazette, and a wonderful revelation they 
are of the government attitude towards us, and 
towards the Boxers, confusing and contradictory 
to the last degree. 

On June 24th, together with an edict for the 
suppression of desperadoes who disturb the peace, 
there is one for the distribution of rice to the 
Boxers, and one appointing Prince Ch'ing and 
Kang I to general command of Boxers, and 
other notables to lower rank under them. The 
edict proceeds, "All the members of the I Ho 
Tuan (Boxers) are exerting their utmost energies, 
and the Imperial family must not fall short in 
harbouring revenge against our enemies ... it is 
of the utmost importance that no lack of energy 


be shown." On June 27th the Empress exhorts 
the soldiers to be brave and energetic in face of 
the enemy, and promises them extraordinary re- 
wards, while threatening cowards with execution. 
On July 1st orders are issued for the restoration 
of the old courier system of intelligence, which 
had been " demoralized " by the use of telegraph 
and railway ; and also orders that Boxers be kept 
under strict control, since cases of wanton murder 
and robbery are becoming frequent. On July 
2nd, "The cause of the present trouble is found 
in the misconduct of the Christians, led astray 
by false doctrines, and relying upon missionaries 
for support in their evil deeds. The Throne ex- 
pects the Boxers to render loyal and patriotic 
service. If Christians repent, mend their ways, 
and give themselves up to local authorities, the 
past shall be ignored. ... As hostilities have 
now broken out between China and foreign 
nations, the missionaries of every nationality 
must all be driven away at once to their own 
countries, so that they may not linger here and 
cause trouble. But it is important that measures 
should be taken to protect them on their journey." 


Truly a contradictory set of orders, but much 
more tending to stir up violence than to calm it 
among people already longing to destroy both 
us and our property, and hating the Christians 
with all their hearts. 

Meanwhile, we just wait and live from day to 
day ; and it is astonishing how quickly the days 
pass. We have not been short of food at all at 
present, though we are rather weary of perpetual 
horse and rice, and relished exceedingly a present 
which the Yamen sent the other day (by way of 
a conciliatory offering, we suppose) of several 
cucumbers and melons, which were divided 
amongst us. We were a little afraid of poison, 
but needed the fresh vegetables so much that 
we could not resist, and no one is the worse. The 
heat is very trying, and the closeness, for the 
Legation is far too full of people to be healthy. 
When Mr. Allen was so ill, we managed to get 
two or three fresh eggs, which we divided with a 
sick baby, she getting the whites, and he the 

There are many comic incidents in the siege, 
which one takes as a matter of course under the 


circumstances, but are most ludicrous when one 
thinks of them. The washing, for instance, is 
done by coolies, who are overlooked by Mr. 
Brazier, of the Customs, who solemnly collects 
the bundles and delivers them every day ; and 
no one feels surprise at seeing the First Secretary 
washing his socks, or at the Minister's wife wash- 
ing up the tea-things, or the doctor digging 
graves, or another gentleman gravely doling out 
two eggs for each sick person, or a pound or 
two of coffee to each mess. Certainly what most 
nearly approaches hardship to me personally is 
the sleeping arrangement. I do long sometimes 
for a night in a proper bed. We three sleep on 
mattresses as close together as possible on the 
floor, so as to get all our heads under one 
mosquito-net; and as I am always rather a 
fidgetty person about sleeping with others, I often 
cannot get much rest. Often I go out and sit 
in the verandah, and enjoy the stars and the 
coolness of the night — when it is cool, so I don't 
come badly off after all. We are far better off 
than in many of the other houses, where six 
and seven have to sleep in a room ; and I think 


there are between fifty and sixty in the church, 
both living and sleeping. 

Jidy list. — The rumour still persisted last night 
that our troops had reached Ma t'ou, about twenty 
miles off. But the Chinese keep firing at us, and 
raising new barricades, so that we dare not relax 
any of our vigilance or preparations, and the men 
are working hard in the trenches this morning. 
The Chinese have been trying to mine us, and 
these trenches are to act as counter-mines all 
round the Legation. 

The French have distinguished themselves this 
morning by shooting a nice peaceful Chinaman 
who was coming to sell us eggs. 

August yd. — These three days have been 
famous for the tremendous variations in the 
mental barometer of the besieged. On the morn- 
ing of the ist every one was quite in high spirits, 
as Colonel Shibas' informer came in and said that 
our troops had advanced as far as Chang Chia Wan, 
about seventeen miles from here. In the evening, 
however, a messenger got through from Tientsin 


with a letter saying troops had been delayed 
through lack of means of transport, but it was 
hoped they would reach us in a few days. This 
has damped our spirits very much, as it seems to 
mean such indefinite delay, and it proves the 
absolute unreliability of our Chinese information. 
The effect was quite extraordinary — everybody 
went about almost silently, and instead of the usual 
excitement for news round the Bell Tower, it was 
almost deserted. Last evening, however, there was 
just as sudden a revulsion to hopeful excitement. 
A messenger got through from Tientsin carrying no 
fewer than seven tiny missives in the lining of his 
hat. All the official ones were in cipher, but the 
translations of parts of them were posted on the 
Bell Tower as soon as possible. They were dated 
the 30th, and stated that troops had started, and 
were starting, that day for our relief (as a matter 
of fact they did not get off till the 4th), so now we 
need no longer doubt that help is actually on the 

We gather from a letter to the American captain 
here that a body of ten thousand United States 
infantry and a body of cavalry are going to try 


to come straight to Peking, while the Japs and 
British engage Chinese troops strongly entrenched 
in three places between here and Tientsin. But 
as the letter is in cipher and unpunctuated, it is 
difficult to tell the exact meaning ; and the poor 
captain himself, for whom it was meant, is very ill 
in hospital with typhoid fever, and knows nothing 
about it. I was with him all this morning there. 
The letter also gave us the first news of affairs in 
Tientsin. They must have had a dreadful time 
there, and we can't help being very anxious for 
news of our bishop and Mrs. Scott and the others. 
We also hear of a rising in Manchuria and threat- 
enings in the south. No one has mentioned 
African news, for which we long. 

You must be anxious about us at home, I know ; 
but it is a comfort to think we have your prayers. 
Miss Hung and the two children are quite well. 
Mr. Allen, too, is convalescent, though weak, and 
the rest of us keep well. It is such a good thing 
that we have rice and flour, and as yet plenty 
of ponies, though these last are, I believe, getting 

There is a great deal of firing going on, and 


they are mining us in all directions ; but I think 
there is no danger of our not holding out unless 
a large number of troops come back to attack us 
on hearing of the approach of our troops. In that 
case we shall have a rough time. 

August \th. — To-day there has been another 
edict issued by the Chinese Government in the 
usual absurd fashion of defending themselves and 
making out that they wish to protect foreigners 
and to " forgive " Christians who are willing to 
repent of their errors. 

Another edict again speaks of the desire of the 
Tsungli Yamen to escort us all to Tientsin and 
give us safe conduct on the road. " If there are 
evildoers who lie in wait to plunder, these are to 
be immediately killed. . . . Before the envoys 
leave the capital, if they have telegrams to send 
to their governments, provided they are not in 
cipher, the Yamen is promptly to arrange the 
matter for them. This will exhibit the extreme 
desire of the Throne to treat the people from afar 
with tenderness." So very kind of them. I only 
hope our Home Government will not be taken in 



by any such humbug. Sir Claude has just shown 
me a tiny letter, which he is trying to get through 
to the troops to-night. It measures about three 
inches by an inch and a half, and the words are 
English, but written in Greek characters. It will 
be sewn into the sole of the messenger's boot, and 
we hope may arrive at its destination safely. The 
words are : " Do not believe anything you hear 
from the Chinese Government as to our intentions. 
Let nothing delay march on Peking, — MAC- 

The Chinese have been firing on us a good deal 
to-day, and there is one Russian seriously 

This is a census of the besieged in the Legation, 
which has just been posted up on the Bell Tower. 

Soldiers, British, and others 
General hospital, wounded, etc. 
Residents — Foreign : Men 


Chinese : Men 









Total ... 883 

These all in one Legation measuring three 


hundred yards by a hundred yards, and we shall 
soon have completed our seventh week of it ! It 
is wonderful there is not more sickness than there 
is, I think. A tremendous downpour of rain 
intervened here, and we have had to have a 
" general post " of mattresses, etc., as our poor be- 
shelled roof offers but a slight resistance to the 
water, and floods are the order of the day. 

August 6th, Monday. — Yesterday was our ninth 
Sunday in the Legation, and seventh of close 
siege. We had our usual celebration of Holy 
Communion in the drawing-room at 6.45, and 
there was another at the chiefs at 8.30, and 
Matins also there at 11. We were too busy at 
the hospital to be able to go, as we had some 
operations ; but I managed to read Matins by 
Captain Myer's bedside. In the evening we went 
up to look at the defences in the Hanlin, which 
are really wonderful now ; we have a tremendously 
solid wall of bricks right across it, loopholed all 
the way, and sentries on guard always there. Last 
night there was a great deal of firing again from 
the Chinese, but no harm done. 


No news yet of the troops, and they must be a 
week on their way ; but probably they will have 
a great deal of fighting to do, and be much 

Miss Lambert is in bed to-day, and will pro- 
bably be so for some days more. It is very 
difficult to feed invalids now ; there is hardly 
anything for them. Our own food — thanks to 
Sister Edith's housekeeping — is really excellent. 
She contrives all sorts of little varieties out of the 
pony-meat and rice, which form the staple com- 
modities. To-day, to our great astonishment, we 
actually had a suet pudding ! A mule had been 
kind enough to provide material. Parties go out 
daily dog-shooting within the lines to try to pro- 
vide food for the Christians in the Fu, who are 
getting very hard up. 

August \oth. — Great news to-day ! A letter 
from General Gaselee at T'sai T'sun, about eighty 
miles from here ! I cannot tell you what the joy 
of hearing definite news like this is ; the last few 
days of absolutely no information, even in the 
form of rumours, have been most trying, especially 


after having our hopes raised by the letter of the 
30th from Tientsin. 

General Gaselee's letter is dated August 8th, 
and is as follows : " Strong force of allies advanc- 
ing. Twice defeated enemy. Keep up your 
spirits. — GASELEE." 

The Japanese have also had a letter giving fuller 
particulars as to dates, and saying that the allies 
hoped to reach Ma T'ou to-day, and that we may 
expect to see them here on the 13th or 14th. It 
sounds almost too good to be true. 

A few days ago we took possession of some 
ruined houses and a piece of ground in the 
Mongol market, outside the west wall of the Lega- 
tion. It strengthens our position a good deal, as 
it relieves the houses all along the west side, where 
we always feared danger from mines. There has 
been a good deal of fighting over it, and the 
Chinese have taken to slinging brickbats, which 
have wounded several of our men, though none 
severely. They have fusilladed us heavily at 
night too, and we have replied with our Nordenfeit 
gun, which is now raised on a sort of platform on 
the wall at the back of this house, which is called 



"Fort Cockburn." The work in the hospital is 
heavy now, as, though the wounded are fewer, we 
have a good deal of dysentery, etc., and three 
cases of typhoid. Miss Lambert has been away, 
too, several days, knocked up by the heat and 
over-strain, and the sick-berth steward, Fuller, has 
dysentery. He is a most valuable man, and is 
missed accordingly. Lady Macdonald came down 
for several hours to-day to help with the typhoid 
patients, and relieve my hands a little. 

On Wednesday morning a poor Frenchman was 
brought in shot through the lungs by a comrade 
in loading his rifle. It seemed very sad, when we 
have lost so many lives through our enemies, that 
a shot from a friend should end another. He has 
been supposed to be dying ever since, but really 
seems just a trifle better to-night. (He died next 
day.) Many patients have gone out again to 
duty cured, and others are hopping about on 
crutches, or with arms in slings, quite happy; 
To-night, too, the good news has made the whole 
community perk up ; it is quite wonderful what 
a bit of news, whether good or bad, will do for our 


An application was made to the Yamen to 
allow us facilities for buying milk and eggs, but 
no reply has come. The mortality and sickness 
among the little children on account of lack of 
proper food is very sad. 

August 1 2th.— Sunday again, and such a busy, 
distracted one. A very hard day at the hospital, 
and severe attacks on us all last night and to- 
day, and going on still at II p.m. The noise is 
deafening, and there have been two deaths and 
several wounded on our side, in spite of the strong 
defences. The attackers seem to be a new body 
of troops which came into the city during last 
night, and appear to be doing their best to make 
an end of us before our friends can arrive, but I 
think and trust we shall hold out all right. 

Meanwhile the Tsungli Yamen have asked to 
come and see the Ministers to-morrow. Was ever 
such an extraordinary state of affairs ? For it is 
Government troops who are attacking us. The 
Government practically acknowledge that the 
troops are now beyond their control ; but that is 
entirely their own fault, as the Imperial edicts 


prove that the attack on foreigners has been not 
only allowed but encouraged, and rewards offered 
for good service against them. 

This noise is too terrific. I can't write or think. 

August \%th. — A most persistent attack was 
kept up on one corner of the compound through 
the early hours of the night, and the roof of our 
bungalow simply riddled with bullets ; but strange 
to say, not one of our marines was hit. A French 
captain was, however, killed, making the French 
death-roll fourteen men ; and two shells burst on 
the Chief's house, doing a good deal of damage, 
but fortunately not injuring any one. 

August \$tk. — Yesterday at three o'clock we 
were relieved. The word looks so small and 
commonplace, and yet, oh what it meant to us ! 
But I must try and go back a bit. On the 
fourteenth, about 7 p.m., a thunderstorm came 
on, and immediately there was a most furious 
attack upon us from all sides, which raged on 
into the night. I went to bed about midnight 
and tried to sleep, but barely closed my eyes, and 


at last, about 2.30 a.m., I heard heavy guns away 
to the east, and then the tat-tat-tat of Maxims, 
and I was certain it was our troops. I went out 
on to the verandah in my dressing-gown, and 
found the whole compound beginning to stir, and 
listen, and say one to another, " The troops." 
"They are coming." "There they are," etc. 
There was great diversity of opinion as to the 
distance, but subsequently we have heard that 
the sounds were from reconnoitring parties of 
British, and from American and Russian troops, 
about four or five miles outside the city. The 
attack after this waxed still more furious ; the 
alarm was rung, and every man was at his post 
for hours. All morning we were " on the listen," 
though very busy at the hospital. About noon 
I went up to Lady Macdonald's to get a little 
rest on her bed, where I could be sure of quiet, 
and I slept till nearly two o'clock, and was just 
in the midst of dressing when I heard a cheer, 
which increased in volume every minute. I 
rushed to the window, and was just in time to 
see our British general and his staff, and a 
ompany of Sikhs come up the T'ing erhs. I 


got out into the hall and there found them all 
shaking hands and greeting one another. It was 
a moment to remember, and so good that it was 
our own dear British contingent who had the 
honour of being first ; and all the greater credit 
to them as they had started last, and only had 
one day to get over the fatigue of their journey 
from India. General Gaselee is a splendid look- 
ing man, and so are several of his officers — most 
of them indeed, I think. , Soon the whole com- 
pound was alive with picturesque Indian troops, 
Sikhs, Punjaub Infantry, Pathans, Cuttucks, and 
magnificent looking Bengal Lancers ; such a treat 
to see a real horse again. The men and horses 
were all dead tired, and simply threw themselves 
down on the ground to rest ; but for all their 
weariness they marched in with cheers and smiling 
faces, and they could not complain that they had 
no welcome. 

After the Indians came the Welsh Fusiliers, 
and then the U.S. Infantry. The enemy still 
kept blazing away into the compound, even after 
the men were on the lawn, and two civilians were 
wounded slightly, and a poor Rajput very badly. 


However, a company of Sikhs were ordered out 
to clear the Mongol market, from which we have 
been harassed so long, and they cleared the whole 
place in quite a short time ; the Americans took 
the wall to the Ch'ien Men, and we breached the 
wall into the Imperial carriage-park, and occupied 
it with Indian troops. 

To-day the Palace has been shelled, and most 
places of importance taken ; but I have been 
busy in the hospital all day, and am a little mixed 
as to details. It is so wonderful to feel safe 
again, and hear the shells without minding them 
a bit, rather rejoicing, in fact. We don't know if 
the Empress is here still or not; but it is gene- 
rally thought she will commit suicide rather than 
be taken prisoner. It is certainly a puzzle to 
know how things will be settled by all these 
foreign nations, or how it will be possible to work 
harmoniously for much longer. 

August ijtk. — Yesterday we had letters from 
the Bishop, brought by two of the newspaper 
correspondents. It was a great relief to hear 
that he and all the others are well, and that he 


is still at Tientsin. They seem to have had a 
very bad time there too. 

Yesterday, and the day before, were days of 
burning and taking possession. The Japanese 
have burnt all, or nearly all of the gates, and 
now all the Imperial city, except the Palace 
itself, is in the hands of the Powers. The Palace 
is at present left, on account, I hear, of inter- 
national differences about loot. 

The jurisdiction of the city has been parcelled 
out among the Powers. The British have the 
west, the Russians the east, the Americans the 
south, and the Japs the north. The Russian 
soldiers are behaving disgracefully, like savage 
marauders more than anything else. One of the 
greatest difficulties at present is food. We were 
almost at our last resources when the relief came, 
and fondly hoped the troops were going to supply 
us, but, on the contrary, these hungry hordes of 
men have poured into a city panic-stricken by 
terror, whence many peaceful folk have fled, and 
into which the country market folk dare not 
come. Our boy managed to get a few eggs for 
us ; but the Russian soldiers took them from him. 


However, I suppose it will be better in a day or 
two, when things get organized. 

The hospital patients are being distributed into 
the various field hospitals, so that our little in- 
ternational hospital will be closed to-morrow ; 
and very glad we shall be, as we are all well 

Nothing is yet settled about our getting away 
from Peking, though there is a talk of next week. 
At present, we, I mean our own party, do not 
know any future plans. 

Mr. Allen and Mr. Norris have been over to 
look for what remains of our Mission compound, 
and there is literally nothing. The houses, church, 
and surrounding wall are not only levelled with 
the ground, but the very foundations have been 
almost obliterated ; trees cut down, paths torn up, 
and wells choked with rubbish; it is too sad to 
go and see. All the native houses, too, in which 
our Christians lived, have been destroyed; but 
we hear that some at least have managed to 
escape with their lives. 

August 20th. — Confusion seems to have been 


let loose in these days. I suppose there is some 
sort of order behind it all, but it is very success- 
fully veiled. 

Colonel Churchill took us up on the wall on 
Saturday to see our and the Chinese fortifications 
there, which are truly wonderful. I could not 
describe them without many more words than I 
have time to write ; but one of the American 
marines in hospital told me that there was " a 
regular Gibraltar up there ; " and though not 
exactly accurate, the expression does not give 
a bad idea of the defences made on both sides. 
The more we see day by day of what our enemy's 
power and means and designs were, the more we 
feel that it was simply the restraining hand of 
God holding them back which prevented them 
from massacring every one of us before the relief 
came. The whole siege would be utterly incom- 
prehensible without such an explanation. 

August 2ifth, on board a boat on the Pel ho. — 
At last we are out of Peking, and stealing quietly 
down the river; and the peace and restfulness 
are most soothing and refreshing after all we have 


been through lately. We left Peking yesterday 
morning; a long train of about seventy carts, 
with many baggage mules, and a few chairs and 
dhoolies, the whole company being escorted by 
Sikhs and Bengal Lancers to T'ung Chou. The 
country was very quiet, but very sad to pass 
through, as almost every house was deserted, and 
most bore signs of being pillaged. T'ung Chou 
itself was a most painful sight, a mass of ruins 
for the most part, in some places still smoking, 
and the sights and smells anything but agreeable. 

We had started about 6.30 and reached our 
boat about 1.30. The boats are only lighters, 
but mat awnings have been rigged up for us, and 
we are very fairly comfortable. We have a boat 
to ourselves, i.e. Edith and myself, and Mr. Allen, 
and we have also on board Miss Hung and the 
two little orphan Chinese, whom Sir Claude gave 
me a special permit to bring. We have also 
Yang Kwei, one of our Christians, who has 
managed to escape with his life by hiding in the 
hills, and goes as our servant. We have three 
Beloochees on board as our guard, very pleasant- 
looking, handsome fellows, whose attempts to 


make friends with the Chinese boatmen amuse 
us much. They go through some wonderful 
pantomimic performances to make one another 
understood. This is Friday, and we expect to 
reach Tientsin on Sunday or Monday. So large a 
convoy cannot travel fast, as we must keep more 
or less together. We occasionally pass a smoking 
village, and there are dead bodies not unfrequently 
in the river and on the bank, but otherwise the 
country looks much as usual, except for the 
absence of people. The crops are ripening, and 
yet there is no one to be seen in the usually busy 
fields. War is very sad. 

I don't think I have mentioned our visit to 
the Temple of Heaven before we left Peking. 
Hitherto it has been inaccessible to foreigners, 
but the British took it on their way into the city, 
and the Bengal Lancers are quartered in some of 
the buildings there. The Temple and the im- 
mense open-air altar are by far the most striking 
things I have seen in China. The altar is the 
central place of worship in the empire, where the 
Emperor annually offers a sacrifice to the Supreme 
Being, and intercedes for his people like a very 


Melchisedeck, and the place is worthy of such 
an act. 

And here I think I must make up my letter 
ready to post when I reach Tientsin. Long 
before you see it you will have read all about 
us in the papers ; but perhaps this little personal 
record will interest some of you. What our future 
movements are to be I have no idea, but no doubt 
the Bishop will have some plan ready for us. 

Thank you very much for the many prayers 
which you have, I know, offered for us. We 
often felt quite conscious of support and comfort 
in answer to intercessions for us, and we in 
return constantly remembered "those in anxiety 
at home." 

About the future of our work I will write later. 
Yours ever affectionately, 

Jessie Ransome.